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Last Updated: Friday, 18 June, 2004, 17:00 GMT 18:00 UK
Everton to fight for Rooney
Exclusive by Phil McNulty
Our man with England

Wayne Rooney
Everton will slap a 45m price tag on Wayne Rooney as England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson admitted he will now be a target for Europe's top clubs.

Rooney's display against France and his goal heroics against Switzerland have alerted Europe's elite to his talents.

Chelsea and Manchester United have been linked with him, although he will be offered a new five-year contract at the end of the tournament.

Eriksson said: "If I was a club manager I would ring his agent."

He added: "If you think about clubs that would want him, I'm sure the queue is very long.

"Wayne is fantastic as he is but I think he will get even better in the future.

"He shouldn't be 100% the finished article at 18 and he can improve."

An Everton spokesman told BBC Sport: "We've had no offers for Wayne. We'd like to negotiate a new contract.

"We would not welcome any offers. We have made it clear to Wayne and his representatives that we would like to talk about a new contract here."

BBC Sport understands that even if any offers were to come in for Rooney, it is unlikely Everton would even consider any deal less than 45m.

Rooney's valuation has rocketed since the start of Euro 2004, and Everton would be under pressure to accept any offer near the world record of just over 45m, paid by Real Madrid for Zinedine Zidane.

Everton manager David Moyes has always vowed that Rooney would not be sold, but the Merseyside club is short of cash and need to rebuild throughout the side after finishing 17th last season.

Rooney has two years left on his current contract, and is now the most prized possession in English football after his outstanding displays in Portugal.

If Everton do decide to sell, Moyes has insisted Chelsea would be the only club in the world that could afford him.

Chelsea's new coach Jose Mourinho confirmed on Saturday that he is an admirer of the teenager.

"Rooney for me is the biggest personality in the competition, an emerging talent who is guaranteed to be seen for many World Cups and European Championships to come," Mourinho said in a column for Portugese newspaper O Jogo.

And with Chelsea also eyeing a reported 31m deal for Liverpool's Steven Gerrard, it may be that the two Merseyside icons could be heading for Stamford Bridge.

Highlights: England 3-0 Switzerland

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