It has been about six months since we first heard Wayne Rooney and Atlanta United FC in the same sentence and like then, many fans never took the rumor very seriously. (The hilarity that ensued the initial tweet will forever be captured.) Nevertheless, even months later Wayne Rooney to Atlanta is more ludicrous than a Ludacris concert.
Multiple media outlets have reported rumors that Wayne Rooney has been offered £75 million to leave Manchester United and play in China. That’s more than $113 million, and, to put this in perspective, Atlanta United paid a $70 million expansion fee just to join MLS.
While the money spent would allow Atlanta United the right to use his name in whatever method imaginable, that marketability simply doesn’t translate the same way it does while Rooney plays for Manchester United. Ultimately it’s the combination of Rooney, Manchester United and that the Premier League is the dominant soccer league in terms of global TV viewership that allows for Rooney to be as marketable as he is. Would jersey sales increase for Atlanta? Absolutely. But not to the level that justify spending anything close to $100 million.
Although bringing Rooney to MLS will more than likely make him the highest paid player in the history of the league, the drop in his play this year make him a burden to even have on the team. Atlanta Braves fans remember how frustrating it was to see BJ Upton trotted out game after game at the worst of his struggles with his new team. The Braves were paying him an insane amount of money could not justify sitting him. The same applies with Rooney. If brought to Atlanta, the team would have to built around him, which would ultimately be a detriment.
The 30-year-old has two goals in twelve Premier League appearances and at this rate could easily match his lowest goal count in a season since his first year at Everton. Before you freak out and proclaim that soccer isn’t all about statistics, in Rooney’s case, yes it absolutely is. He’s proven he can’t really do much else.
The most important reason why Atlanta United will never go after a player like Wayne Rooney is because the front office hasn't proven it self to desire chasing stars. The franchise isn't City Football Group, they don’t have the money to be LA Galaxy, and unfortunately, will probably never have a fan base that justifies a world-renown player like Rooney.
Don’t mistake that to be a bad thing though. As a new team, the last thing a franchise wants is a player who creates the identity for the team, or in the case of Rooney, forces the club to embrace his identity.
So be happy that Atlanta United won’t be acquiring the services of Wayne Rooney.