Rooney departs Premier League, seals monster MLS move
WAYNE Rooney has departed the English Premier League and finalised his long-awaited Major League Soccer move to DC United.
The former England captain and Manchester United star is in the US capital to tie up the details of a two-and-a-half-year contract, which reports have said will be worth $13 million.
DC United announced the signing on Twitter.
The Washington Post reported DC United had agreed to pay an undisclosed transfer fee to Everton for the 32-year-old.
Rooney posted a picture on Twitter of himself on a plane headed to the US on Thursday, fuelling speculation of an imminent move.
He will not be eligible to play for United until the league's transfer window opens on July 10.
The club is hoping he can start training with the team sooner rather than later, possibly by the end of the week, the Post reports.
DC United hopes Rooney will be ready to play for the club by the time it opens it new stadium, Audi Field, in mid-July.
Rooney will be available for 20 league matches this season.
Although DC United officials had refused to comment publicly during the transfer negotiations, team coach Ben Olsen said this week that he would welcome the arrival of new players of Rooney's calibre.
"It's stirring, it's stirring, it's stirring," Olsen said.
"If and when additions come, it will be exciting. I think the additions that we will bring in will help this club in a whole bunch of different ways.
"First and foremost, on the field. That's where we need help right now, to get us over the hump."
Rooney has been linked to DC United for several weeks. He flew to Washington last month to speak with United officials and tour the club's new stadium.
United, 2-6 with four drawn this season, ranks at the bottom of the MLS Eastern Conference.
Rooney rejoined Everton last year after 13 seasons with Manchester United. He scored 11 goals this past season, including a hat-trick last November against West Ham.
In all competitions across 13 seasons Rooney scored 253 goals for Manchester United, making him the club's all-time record goalscorer.
Rooney retired from international football last August as England's record goalscorer, with 53 goals in 119 appearances.
He will be one of the highest profile stars to join MLS in the league's history.
Former England teammate David Beckham blazed the trail for overseas players when he joined the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007.
Since then several veteran stars have joined the league, including Thierry Henry, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Andrea Pirlo and David Villa.
Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimovic joined the Galaxy earlier this year.
Rooney and Ibrahimovic's arrivals this season, however, have bucked a recent trend in MLS in which clubs have tended to recruit younger and up-and-coming overseas players.