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Wayne Rooney the next big-name transfer target for China

Manchester United have apparently received an offer for the aging striker that can only be called "massive."

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Say what you will about how good or how very not Wayne Rooney has been this season, but the Manchester United striker is still a big name in the sport who is at the heart of many conversations about the game. With the Chinese Super League vacuuming up players from Europe, it was probably only a matter of time before they made a play for one "big name" player to headline their signing spree, and according to reports, they've done just that.

Manchester United are rumored to have received an offer worth some £27 million from a Chinese Super League team -- as of yet unidentified, but most likely Shanghai Shenhua -- in order to give up Rooney. The English international himself would, if the offer is accepted by United and he decides to leave, sign a three-year contract worth over £25 million per season -- roughly $35.7 million a year.

The offer, which Manchester currently denies having received but is still believed to be in play, represents an opportunity for both team and player should it come to pass. Rooney's current huge contract, which has two years left on it, is a massive weight on Manchester's resources, even for how much money the club brings in. Freeing that up would allow them to dramatically restructure a team in dire need of it. For Rooney, he could become the face of one of the fastest-rising leagues in the world, and make a whole lot of money doing it.

It's hard to get past this thought though -- a month ago, this rumor would have been shocking and unbelievable. Wayne Rooney, go to China? Come on, now. But after weeks of Chinese teams snapping up all kinds of players from all around the world, instead of the rumor being met with derision, we're wondering why it hadn't already happened. What a crazy time we're in.

Goal of the day week month

Aritz Aduriz won Athletic Bilbao's Europa League game against Marseille with this absurd 35-yard volley.

In the news

The head of an anti-discrimination organization has called for harsh punishment for Serge Aurier from Paris Saint-Germain beyond his current indefinite suspension for a homophobia-laced rant against club staff. (Sky Sports)

Arsène Wenger is angry about a proposed change to the FA Cup format that would see replays removed from the competition. (ESPN FC)

Ezequiel Lavezzi is the latest player to head to China, joining Heibei China Fortune. (Guardian)

Police are searching for an amateur player in Argentina who shot and killed a referee who sent him off in a match, and injured another player. (Guardian)

When Real Madrid sold Ángel di María to Manchester United, they apparently wanted guarantees that he would never be sold to Barcelona. (Telegraph)

You should be reading

John Brewin points out that both Manchester United and Manchester City seem listless and lacking in direction. (ESPN FC)

Ben Taylor describes the sad lot of being an Aston Villa fan. (Guardian)

What happened on Thursday

Manchester United got embarrassed by a Danish team. (The Busby Babe)

Tottenham Hotspur snagged an away goal and a draw against Fiorentina. (Cartilage Free Captain)

Napoli couldn't get the job done against Villarreal. (The Siren's Song)

Check out the rest of the Europa League scores and action.

What to watch on Friday (click for listings, all times ET)

Bundesliga: Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Hamburger SV (2:30 p.m.): HSV are trying to pull further clear of the relegation battle that plagued them the last few seasons, while Frankfurt are just trying to keep themselves out of the drop zone.

La Liga: Levante vs. Getafe (2:30 p.m.): The state of the La Liga table gives Getafe very little to play for in this match, but a win for Levante could be the first step to getting them out of the relegation zone.

Serie A: Bologna vs. Juventus (2:45 p.m.): Juventus are back on top of Serie A, but to stay there they need to keep winning games. Bologna aren't going to go away quietly, so this could be an intense match.

Olympic Qualifying: Two games (from 5:30 p.m.): CONCACAF qualifying for this summer's Olympic Games has reached the semifinal round, with Canada taking on Costa Rica in the early game, followed by the United States squaring off with Trinidad and Tobago.