Wayne Rooney could walk away from Manchester United next summer for just £5 million due to a little-used FIFA ruling.
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The Webster ruling allows players to buy out the last year of their contracts for the price of their wages plus a nominal compensation fee, meaning that the England talisman could leave for less than a tenth of his market value.
According to a report in The Independent, Spanish law firm Ruiz Huerta y Crespo – who have been involved in every major Webster ruling case – have confirmed that Rooney would qualify to leave next summer for a bargain price.
Rooney signed his current in November 2006, meaning that he has served more than the minimum three-year ‘protected period’ during which United could have blocked a deal.
Webster ruling transfers can only take place in the summer, but the revelation that Rooney could walk away for so little is expected to force Manchester United into action – either to sell the player in January or tie him down to a new contract.
And with Rooney having already rejected an offer of £150,000 a week to stay at Old Trafford, the odds on him leaving in the next transfer window appear to be growing by the day.
The Webster ruling is named after former Hearts defender Andy Webster, who set the legal precedent after forcing a move to Stoke in 2006.