Wayne Rooney departure shows the shifting sands at Everton
When August 12th, 2017 came to an end, Wayne Rooney was sitting on cloud nine. His Everton return had been made in a glorious manner.
A towering header had secured a 1-0 win over Stoke City at Goodison Park and gotten the Blues Premier League campaign off to the perfect start.
Four-and-a-bit months later, he had added another nine goals to his tally and a superb performance in the 3-1 win over Swansea City, in which he managed a goal and an assist, had continued a decent return to his boyhood club.
Everton had struggled considerably but he was their top goalscorer and at times their best performer.
Cycle forward to May and things have changed drastically. Rooney has not managed a goal or an assist since that victory over the Swans and his role on Merseyside is now far from secure.
The 32-year-old has looked far off the pace once again and his absence from an Everton midfield lacking in quality has often been justified.
A move to MLS is now being mooted and nary an eyelid has been batted. Unlike the departure of the club’s last top goalscorer, Romelu Lukaku, this is a move that few at Everton will be disappointed to see happen.
Like the Belgian, though, it is a departure that reflects heavily on the boardroom at Goodison Park.
Letting Rooney go would be a sign that those in charge of the club are now making strides to rid Everton of the sentimentality that has often held them back.
Everton is a club steeped in sentimentality and while it is often to their benefit, there are multiple cases of it being the opposite. Players have been kept too long and managers have been afforded more time than they would have been elsewhere.
Keeping Rooney beyond this season would be the first, he is a player who now offers them very little and looks all but finished as a Premier League player.
Add in the fact that he is earning upwards of £100,000 a week wages and continuing his return to Goodison Park any longer makes very little sense.
Allowing him to go is a sign that those in charge are now employing the kind of ruthless operational thinking that separates the big sides from the rest.
It is also a clear demonstration of the shifting sands in the boardroom at Goodison Park.
Bill Kenwright is a so-called boyhood Blue and seeped in the kind of aforementioned sentiment that has often held the club back.
He is the kind of chairman who would be happy to keep Rooney around, ignoring what his head tells him in favour of his sentimental heart.
Farhad Moshiri is no such man, though, and has shown his ruthless efficiency in dispatching with both Roberto Martinez and Ronald Koeman since his arrival on Merseyside.
Allowing Rooney to leave for MLS would be another indication of not only this but also that he is a man who will not be ruled by the kind of sentimentality that often clouds Kenwright’s thinking.
Kenwright would block the move at every opportunity; Moshiri would allow it to happen willingly. The fact the latter seems to be the case shows who is truly in charge these days.
Rooney’s return has not been the fairy-tale story that he would have hoped for a year ago.
But while his second spell may not have made many waves in the waters around Goodison Park, his second departure is doing just that. It is a clear sign of who is really in charge of the big decisions at Everton these days.