With Rooney's status as the club's all-time leading goalscorer secured last month and regular first-team starts having been in short supply under Jose Mourinho, it has been suggested that the United skipper will now be allowed to make a lucrative switch to the Far East. Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has given agent Paul Stretford the green light to seek a move, according to The Mirror, with unnamed Chinese suitors said to be willing to pay £30m ($37.4m) for his services. It is further claimed that the 31-year-old could double his wages to an eye-watering £750,000-per-week.
Tianjin are one of the Chinese Super League (CSL) outfits believed to boast the necessary financial firepower to lure Rooney away from English football, having already splashed out on the likes of Belgian midfielder Axel Witsel and former Chelsea loanee Alexandre Pato. They are also the club that targeted a deal for Diego Costa in January.
However, while manager Cannavaro admits that they have tried to sign him already, he insists that Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Fiorentina's Croatian international Nikola Kalinic are more prominent targets and better fits.
"We did make an approach for Rooney, but it was just chit-chat because he simply doesn't suit our style of play," Cannavaro told Tianjin TV, as relayed by FourFourTwo. "No further discussion was necessary.
"The truth is we had more frequent contact with Aubameyang. Unfortunately, our bid was rejected by Borussia Dortmund who said he was needed in this season's Champions League. Our prime target is still Kalinic but it's quite difficult for his club to let him leave at the moment. Under such circumstances, we are caught in a dilemma. I need to communicate with our managing director."
While transfer windows across Europe have already closed for business, the Chinese market remains open until 28 February. When asked about Roooney during a press conference held prior to his side's Europa League last-32 second-leg clash against Saint-Etienne, Mourinho admitted that he could not guarantee his skipper would remain at Old Trafford until the end of the season.
"You have to ask him," he said. "I can't guarantee that I'm here next week so how can I guarantee a player won't be here next season? What I can guarantee is that if Wayne one day leaves the club it is not because I want him to leave the club.
"The only thing I can guarantee is that I would never push, or try to push, a legend of this club to another destination. So you have to ask him if he wants to stay at the club for the rest of his career or if he sees himself moving on. I'm happy to have him. I have been very open with you. I don't want him to leave."
Rooney last featured for United as a half-time substitute during a goalless draw with Hull City at the beginning of the month. He was sidelined for the subsequent win at Leicester City due to illness and was left as an unused substitute against Watford before missing the 3-0 first-leg win over Saint-Etienne and the FA Cup fifth-round triumph over Blackburn Rovers due to a minor muscle injury.
The England stalwart did return to light training on Tuesday, but was later omitted from the 20-man travelling squad for France. Mourinho insisted that he "cannot do miracles" and remains unsure if Rooney will be fit to face Southampton in the EFL Cup final at Wembley on Sunday.