There is no hiding the fact that a number of Major League Soccer franchises have the ability to tempt world-class players into a move to the US. The latest name to be linked with a high-profile move is Wayne Rooney.
Rooney’s current contract at United ends in 2019 and he has previously spoken of the possibility of a move to MLS at the end of his playing days in Manchester.
Paulson feels Rooney still has a lot to offer but that a move would be tempting for the United captain. “I would argue he still has some good soccer ahead of him. I think he would be a great signing for MLS.”
The Timbers’ owner is excited at the prospect of another high-profile player coming at an earlier stage of their career. “Keeping in mind that he is a very talented footballer, who has quality soccer ahead of him, you are not talking about a 34 or 35 year old.
“I get excited about the impact he would have in the MLS more than a guy who is coming in later in his career.”
There is evidently the funding available to attract some of the biggest names in world football. Paulson revealed that Orlando City are one of the latest clubs to have been in talks for high value deals.
“MLS is offering significant money. There were conversations with some guys who are as big a name as Rooney recently. Orlando City had some high profile discussions with some players, guys in his age range. There are some big-dollar numbers that have been put out.”
China has been attracting some big names to the Chinese Super League in the last year but Paulson feels MLS has more to offer and that it is still a more favourable move for any potential signing.
“I think America compares really favourably. I wouldn’t want to play soccer in Beijing right now. I am not saying that because I don’t like China but the air quality issue is something they have to deal with in a sport which requires fitness.
“Players need to determine where they want to play and what is going to be best for their legacy and lifestyle, where they want to live.”
Rooney has had a good start to the season under new boss Jose Mourinho and a move away looks unlikely at this stage.
Would a move to MLS suit Rooney? What club should he join if he decides to make a move stateside?