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Wayne Rooney reveals how Chelsea and Newcastle almost took him from Manchester United’s grasp in 2004

Wayne Rooney
(Image credit: PA)

Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney has revealed that he came close to joining Chelsea and Newcastle United before his 2004 switch to Old Trafford.

The striker was hot property after bursting onto the scene as a teenager at Everton, and went on to become United’s all-time top scorer with 253 goals.

But speaking to the UTD Podcast, he explained that history could’ve gone very differently as he had other options available at the time.

Speaking of his move to Old Trafford, he said: “I knew it was an option before Euro 2004. I knew Manchester United wanted to sign me.

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“I think going to the Euros and doing well there probably added a bit more money onto the transfer fee but I broke my foot and found out a few things.

“Everton were really struggling for money at the time and I found out they were listening to offers from people as well.

“They were trying to push me to sign for Chelsea because they were going to pay the most money. But, once I knew United were interested, I wanted some confirmation that they did want to sign me.

“Once I knew they did want to sign me, it was the only club as I wanted to work with Sir Alex Ferguson and play with Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Roy Keane, Rio Ferdinand, these players, so I knew where I wanted to go.

“It was 40 minutes from my home, where I grew up, as well and it was a perfect fit for me. United actually wanted to wait a year, until the following year, but then Newcastle came into talks with Everton and with myself.

“I'd gone too far then. I couldn't wait another year, I couldn't stay another year at Everton, so I was prepared to go to Newcastle for that year.

“I spoke to them, we spoke about salary and what I wanted if I went there was, after a year, if Manchester United come in, you have to let me go.

“Newcastle were agreeing to that but obviously, with United, I went back to them and said, if you don't do it now, I'll go to Newcastle with a clause in place. United obviously didn't want me to go there so I came here.

“It was basically whatever Newcastle paid for me, United would have paid a year later.”

Rooney eventually joined United in a £26 million deal, the biggest fee ever paid for a teenager at the time, and he won five Premier League titles, the FA Cup, three League Cups, the Champions League and the Europa League during 13 years at the club.

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