Rooney among 'European stars' on LA FC radar

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Wayne Rooney is among a number of global stars wanted by LA FC for their first season in MLS in 2018.

The Manchester United and England captain has been linked with a move away from Old Trafford after falling down the pecking order under manager Jose Mourinho, with a transfer to a major American side touted as a possible option.

Chinese Super League side Beijing Guoan saw an approach rejected by Rooney at the start of the season, according to their honorary president, who said the 31-year-old made it clear that he wants to stay at United.

But the Los Angeles franchise, who will make their debut in the United States' top flight in two years' time, would jump at the chance to sign England's record goalscorer.

"Wayne Rooney is an example of the calibre of player we are looking to bring to LA FC," owner Tom Penn, told ESPN FC. "He is one of 10 names we are looking at, but we are a long way from signing anybody up right now.

"We are still 18 months away from our first MLS game, so we will see if players of Rooney's status and reputation are interested. But LA FC is a club with the ambition to match its surroundings, so it is important for us to attract players with a global reputation."

Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas and Bayer Leverkusen striker Javier Hernandez are among the players rumoured to be targeted by LA, who want a marquee signing to herald their start to life in MLS.

The club are keen to replicate the success enjoyed by New York City FC, who signed David Villa, Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo for their inaugural 2015 season, while LA Galaxy enjoyed a huge boost from the arrival of David Beckham and, to a lesser extent, Steven Gerrard.

Penn, however, insists that they would not just be offering experienced stars the chance to end their careers in a less demanding environment.

"For a player of stature, a European star let's say, we would want them to view this as the first day of the rest of their life, not as just the end of their playing career," Penn said.

"If they come to America, and establish themselves in that media market, there are many creative ways with our ownership group and investors to help kick-start or boost the afterlife of their career, as they transition to the real world later.

"But we are active now. We are speaking with player agents and clubs and John Thorrington, our executive vice-president of soccer operations, has been in England for a number of technical meetings.

"So in terms of timings, we have the opportunity in the summer window to announce who our players will be in 2018.

"They will likely be loaned back so they can continue to play in Europe, but we can have three Designated Players that can exceed the salary cap and we can work creative arrangements with them financially."