Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney has started this season in blistering form despite rumours of him angling for a move to rival club Chelsea.

The United stalwart earns a reported £225,000 a week or £11.7million a year, and rumours are circulating that he may be offered a new deal. With footballers’ wages reaching unprecedented heights, we look back on key milestones in the history of footballers salaries.

It wasn’t until 1885 that you could be paid for playing football. By 1901 a four-pound wage limit was introduced; this grew to eight pounds by 1922 and twelve pounds by 1947. In 1961 PFA Chairman Jimmy Hill abolished the maximum wage, and this saw Johnny Haynes become the first £100 a week player.

In 1979, Nottingham Forest and England goalkeeper Peter Shilton signed a new contract worth £1,200 a week contract, making him the highest paid player in the country. Fifteen years later Chris Sutton moved to Blackburn from Norwich and became the first £10,000 a week player.

United captain Roy Keane became the first player to top £50,000 a week with a wage of £52,000 after signing a new contract in 2000. Sol Campbell’s exodus from Tottenham to Arsenal in 2001 saw him become the first £100,000 man. Come 2010 Carlos Tevez at Man City becomes the first million-pound-a-month player with a weekly wage claimed to be £286,000.

With all this money, what do footballers spend it on? With so much disposable cash a lot of them gamble, whether it is online with apps such as Betfair or Manor Gaming mobile, or at the track. Some of the smarter ones build up their property portfolio, while the current trend is to open restaurants. With such high-profiles it shouldn’t be too hard for footballers to get ventures off the ground!

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