LONDON — Arsenal have discussed a move for unsettled Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney.
Less than 12 months after selling Robin van Persie to this season’s Premier League champions, the Gunners are plotting an equally dramatic move for his troubled teammate.
Sportsmail can reveal the club’s backroom team first raised the possibility of a move for the England striker at a scouting meeting in March, having been alerted to Rooney’s problems at Old Trafford.
The Gunners are serious about trying to land Rooney this summer, but know putting together a financial package to land him is the major obstacle to a deal.
Lukas Podolski, Arsenal’s top earner, is on just over £100 000 a week compared to Rooney’s £250 000.
Arsenal are planning to raise their wage bill significantly this summer as they look to land players such as Fiorentina’s Stevan Jovetic and Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic.
Manager Arsene Wenger has a £70 million summer budget if they qualify for the Champions League so funding the transfer fee would not be a problem.
But whether the Gunners would be prepared to offer Rooney the sort of money he earns now remains to be seen. Senior Arsenal officials doubt that they will be able to compete with Chelsea’s financial clout in the race for the 27-year-old.
Nevertheless, the fact Wenger and his staff have even discussed a move for the ex-Everton man shows the calibre of player the club are targeting this summer.
Wenger has often been criticised for signing cheap replacements for players such as Van Persie, Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, who have all left the club for hefty transfer fees in recent seasons.