Man Utd legend Wayne Rooney reveals Everton wanted him to join Chelsea in 2004 as they were offering the most money

WAYNE ROONEY revealed Everton wanted him to join Chelsea rather than Manchester United in 2004 because they were offering the most money.

The then-18-year-old famously made the switch from Goodison Park to Old Trafford that summer for a record-breaking £27million.

But it could all have been so different had the cash-strapped Toffees got their way.

The Blues – with new manager Jose Mourinho arriving at Stamford Bridge – and Newcastle both chased Rooney but ultimately missed out to Sir Alex Ferguson.

Speaking on the UTD Podcast, the current Derby player-coach said: "I knew it [joining United] was an option before Euro 2004.

“I knew Manchester United wanted to sign me. I think going to the Euros, and doing well there, probably added a bit more money on to 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 [for me]."

Rooney added: “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 the salary and what I wanted. [I told them if] I went there and Manchester United came in, they'd 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 went on to enjoy 13 successful years at United, winning five Premier Leagues, one FA Cup, three League Cups, the Champions League, Europa League and Club World Cup.

On a personal level, he scored 253 goals in 559 Red Devils appearances and returned to Everton in 2017 as United's record goalscorer.

Chelsea, meanwhile, signed nine players in the 2004 summer window – including strikers Mateja Kezman and Didier Drogba.

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