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Last Updated: Friday, 9 July, 2004, 14:06 GMT 15:06 UK
Everton begin Rooney talks
Everton striker Wayne Rooney
Everton have opened talks with Wayne Rooney's representatives to discuss the offer of a new five-year deal for the 18-year-old England striker.

Rooney, who is recovering from a broken bone in his foot, saw his stock rise with his performances at Euro 2004.

He has been linked with Chelsea, Manchester United and Real Madrid.

But club spokesman Ian Ross told their website: "Initial talks between Everton and Wayne Rooney's representatives have now opened and will continue."

Rooney's current deal still has two years left to run, but Everton are anxious to secure his long-term future.

Manager David Moyes has already stated that he hopes the club's pre-emptive action will persuade the player to stick with the club he has supported all his life.

"I think this offer is a reflection of the club's ambition," he said. "We have always stated we want to keep Wayne Rooney and an offer of this size for an 18-year-old is exceptional."

Everton chief executive Trevor Birch added: "We believe this is the right offer for Wayne, which fully reflects his growing stature in football.

"The offer is the biggest ever made in this club's history.

"Hopefully this will not only satisfy Wayne's demands but will also serve to underscore the club's ambition.

"Everyone at Everton is anxious that Wayne remains at Goodison Park to continue his footballing education under the stewardship of David Moyes and his coaching staff."

Everton say they have not received any bids for the player.

Director Paul Gregg said: "I can confirm to you that we've had no interest expressed by Manchester United.

"We hope that they can't afford Wayne Rooney and effectively that Wayne will stay with Everton."

Everton are heavily in debt and could wipe out their financial woes by selling their prize asset for a fee that would almost certainly exceed Rio Ferdinand's British record 30m move from Leeds to Manchester United.

Chelsea, bankrolled by owner Roman Abramovich, were believed to be the only club capable of mounting a bid to tempt Everton, but manager Jose Mourinho has ruled out a move.

Rooney is likely to be sidelined for two months as he recovers from a broken bone in his foot, sustained in England's exit against hosts Portugal.




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