With the 5-1 defeat at the hands of the Philadelphia Union still stinging, rumors have gone from bad to worse for D.C. United. Earlier today, a report from The Telegraph came out of the UK, stating that Wayne Rooney was in talks with Derby County to potentially become a player-coach of the team. We have all laughed off rumors from The Sun before, but The Telegraph has a higher reputation.
Unfortunately for D.C. United fans, reporters on this side of the Atlantic have begun to hear the same things from their sources, with Derby County and Burnley both involved.
Wayne Rooney is indeed in talks to leave #DCU, potentially at year’s end, or possibly after next season. Burnley and Derby County are both suitors. I’d expect a decision on his future in the next 48 hours.— Pablo Maurer (@MLSist) August 5, 2019
One interpretation of these discussions is that they are a shot across the bow of D.C. United’s leadership in Ben Olsen, Dave Kasper, Jason Levien, and Steve Kaplan. The team has been sputtering for awhile, with only 2 wins since May, and so Rooney could be showing the team that they better make it worth his while to continue to play here. The team would need to have a plan for substantial investment this week, beyond just the signing of Ola Kamara. I won’t speculate on the stories about Rooney’s family, but those have also been out there as well.
Another possibility is that Rooney is already likely to go, and that the Kamara signing is a hedge for the rest of this year in case he does go as well as looking towards the next 2-3 seasons as well. In both situations, however, the team needs to bring multiple players now and not just for this season. As we saw in 2017, the players you sign at midseason may help you in the current season, but they are really brought in to prepare yourself for next year.
Preparing for next year, even though there is plenty to play for still this season, starts this week.
More as we hear it.