Those in the know on news desks around the country are so certain that Jose Mourinho will be taking over as Manchester United manager this summer, they’ve already started speculating whose Old Trafford days are numbered now the Portuguese is inbound.
Two standout names in the queue for the chopping block are Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini, while Ryan Giggs’ position as assistant coach is also thought to be under threat.
Seeing the trio line up as suggested fall guys comes as no surprise, Mourinho sold Mata to Man Utd during his second stint as Chelsea boss, Fellaini is regularly subject to fans’ ire and, unfortunately for Giggs, a gaffer as seasoned as the 53-year-old obviously has a favoured backroom team.
However, there is one name who media speculators don’t envisage being part of a player cull: Wayne Rooney.
It’s tough to fathom where the Red Devils skipper would fit into Mourinho’s plans, should he succeed replace unloved incumbent Louis van Gaal.
A staunch supporter of the solo-striker system, the former Chelsea boss is an advocate of the hulking target man line-leader, whose raw physicality and untamable aggression is regarded as essential in order to combat the Premier League’s rugged centre-halves.
While Rooney may boast an abundance of the latter characteristic, he lacks the power, strength and speed of a Diego Costa/Didier Drogba type.
His goalscoring prowess also seems to be in decline too, with just seven Premier League nets bulged courtesy of his boot this term.
It follows 12 notched from 33 2014/15 appearances, another sizeable reduction on the 17 scored from 29 the season prior.
Rooney may argue his statistical decay is down to the restrictive system in which he plays under Van Gaal, but Mourinho teams are rarely celebrated for the beautiful, striker-friendly football they play.
Now into his 30’s, the United captain has undoubtedly reached his peak, if not already past it and his near-certain new boss has rarely shown himself afraid of making big decisions with regards to personnel changes.
After all, he dropped then sold Mata months after reclaiming the Chelsea reigns, despite the fact the Spaniard had been voted the club’s best player in his first two seasons in west London.
With the opportunity to make big money on Rooney waning by the month, expect him to be one of the first out of the door if Mourinho takes charge.