Wayne Rooney has been identified as a leading contender to succeed John Eustace if the manager was to depart Birmingham City, whose American owners explored making a big-name appointment after completing their takeover earlier this summer.
Rooney, the 37-year-old former England captain, is thought to have admirers within the Birmingham hierarchy. Shelby Companies Limited acquired the club in July and the former NFL star Tom Brady became a minority shareholder of the club in August.
Rooney, whose contract with Major League Soccer DC United expires in December, could be handed a route back into English football in the event Eustace left the Championship club.
This week Rooney expressed disappointment that talks over a proposed new deal had yet to materialise. “We asked about a new deal,” he told the Washington Post. “We can sit down and talk about it. We haven’t heard back. The fact we haven’t heard back is probably signalling one thing, but I’m sure they’ll have their reasons for that. So I’ll wait and see.”
It is not thought Eustace is close to leaving the club and the former Watford midfielder has impressed since taking charge of Birmingham last summer. Eustace was previously wanted by Swansea City and is thought to be a candidate for Rangers if they were to sack under-pressure manager Michael Beale.
Birmingham are unbeaten in the second tier this season under Eustace, who signed a three-year contract after succeeding Lee Bowyer in July 2022. Birmingham’s next match is at Watford on 16 September.
Rooney left Derby in June 2022. He was unable to prevent relegation to League One after the club were docked a combined 21 points for breaching financial rules.