Updated Wayne Rooney is reportedly set to make a high-profile move to DC United, with a £12m deal close to being agreed.
The suggestion yesterday was that Rooney would prefer to remain at Everton for the final year of his contract but was looking for assurances that he will be part of the manager's plans for next season before deciding whether or not to make the switch to Major League Soccer.
That was the contention of separate reports in the Liverpool Echo and The Times' northwest football correspondent, Paul Joyce in the wake of a Washington Post article that the 32-year-old is eyeing a transfer to the United States.
The crux of the issue under that scenario for Rooney is just who the manager will be after the end of this season, with speculation continuing that Sam Allardyce could be replaced as major shareholder Farhad Moshiri looks to get the club moving forward again towards the aim of Champions League qualification.
The Daily Mail then reported, however, that Rooney has informed Everton of his desire to join DC United when the MLS transfer window opens in July and that now appears to be the case, with Sky Sports claiming that a deal has been agreed in principle.
The player's long-time agent Paul Stretford was said to be in the US this week negotiating the finer points of a transfer that appears to have been hatched seven weeks ago when contact with the American club and MLS was first made.
He appears to have negotiated a contract that would run until 2020 but sources across The Pond say that nothing has yet been finalised and that the deal is still 50/50 at this stage.
Rooney arrived back at Goodison Park to much fanfare last July after 13 years away from his boyhood club with Manchester United. As part of a historic spending spree, the veteran was expected to be part of Everton's leap forward towards challenging for the top four under Ronald Koeman.
The Dutch boss was sacked by October, however, and eventually replaced by Allardyce who was brought in to steady the ship and ensure that the Toffees stayed clear of relegation. The journeyman manager and one-time England head coach successfully fulfilled that remit but poor performances, negative tactics and unadventurous football mean that that supporters skeptical of his appointment in the first place have failed to warm to him.
Allardyce has been the subject of terrace chants calling for his departure from Goodison Park and there has been consistent talk in the media that Moshiri is looking to bring in a Continental coach to lead the team going forward. There have also been strong indications — the strongest yet coming from Joyce in this latest report — that PSV Eindhoven's technical director, Marcel Brands, is to come on board to head up recruitment and, perhaps, another clear-out of the squad.
Rooney, who has shown visible frustration at having been substituted on a number of occasions recently, not least in the Merseyside derby, is now waiting to see what happens at Everton this summer and wants clarity from whoever is in charge that he will be part of the plans for next season.
The Croxteth-born product of Everton's youth system is the Blues' leading scorer this season but has struggled for form since the turn of the year and hasn't found the net in 2018 since dropping into a deeper midfield role.
He has been courted by DC United for the past year and could see a move across The Pond as the next step for what could be the final stage of his glittering career.
Allardyce has expressed more than once recently that he has "no problem" with Rooney, despite the former United man's frustrated reaction to coming off in the Goodison derby before an hour had elapsed.
He told talkSPORT yesterday that he would wish to keep Rooney at Everton and that he would not be one of the outgoing transfers that would be required to trim a bloated senior squad.
"I wouldn't consider anything on the cards on the moment," Allardyce said of Rooney. "It would have to be massive for him to want to leave Everton."