​His arrival on the first-team scene in September 2002 had Evertonians buzzing. His acrimonious departure in 2004 left Toffees fans heartbroken and furious.


Now, 13 years after he left Goodison Park to head up the M62 to Manchester United, Everton supporters' emotions are toying with them again at the prospect of a return to the club of prodigal son Wayne Rooney.


The forward is looking increasingly likely to call time on his Red Devils career - an era that saw Rooney become the club's new all-time record goalscorer during the 2016/17 season - and the British press are hinting that he is next footballing destination could be a romantic return to Merseyside.


Both Everton and Rooney, however, have some thinking to do. Would the 31-year-old improve the first-team set up under manager Ronald Koeman? Is his possible return the right move for Rooney himself? Do Evertonians want him back solely for nostalgic reasons?


The two parties face a crucial conundrum. Here, we weigh up the positives and negatives of Wayne Rooney re-signing for his beloved Blues:


How Rooney's Return Would Benefit Everton

Rooney celebrates scoring

It's been 13 years since Rooney completed a £27m move to United, but his Old Trafford career looks to be at an end when you consider his body language and ​comments in recent days.


If the England international was to head back to L4 and rejoin Everton, though, what qualities could he offer that aren't already present at the club?


For starters, Rooney's experience - domestically, continentally and internationally - would be a huge fillip to the project Koeman is currently undertaking, and his vast knowledge of the past 15 years' worth of football would be vital for the club's emerging talent.

The likes of Tom Davies, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Mason Holgate and Ademola Lookman would definitely benefit from Rooney's expertise and advice during their fledgling careers, and even the group's senior stars such as Yannick Bolasie would be the beneficiaries of Rooney's winning mentality rubbing off on them.


Rooney's professionalism on and off the pitch has made huge strides in recent seasons too, and alongside fellow stalwarts such as Leighton Baines and Gareth Barry would provide a glowing example of how players should conduct themselves in training, on matchdays and away from football in everyday life.

That Koeman and director of football Steve Walsh have spoken so enthusiastically about the possibility of bringing Rooney back to Goodison - Koeman saying ​back in March that he would be "welcome back" at the club and someone "who can make Everton more stronger" - must be a good thing. After all, Koeman knows a decent player when he sees one.


Rooney would also help move Everton forward in their plans to gatecrash the so-called 'top six' in the Premier League, and his big-match know-how would certainly lend the Toffees' additional determination to end their 22-year wait for silverware thanks to his impressive winners' medals haul.


Why Everton Signing Rooney Could Backfire

FBL-ENG-PR-WEST HAM-MAN UTD

An experienced old head who could help bridge the gap between the rest of the top six, aid the club's pursuit of silverware and pass on knowledge to Everton's talented contingent of wonderkids - what's not to like about Rooney coming home?


To be frank, Rooney is a shadow of the footballer he was even five years ago, let alone the wonderkid who burst onto the scene in October 2002 with that last-ditch winning goal against Arsenal.


Bereft of plenty of first-team opportunities under United boss Jose Mourinho this term, Rooney would need a good, hard pre-season to get him back up to scratch ahead of a gruelling 2017/18 campaign for Everton and, given how he's been playing at the top level for nigh-on 15 seasons now, his body won't be the same as it was during his vibrant youth days.

Of course, Rooney would provide an extra body for Koeman to select in a season which will see the Blues play twice a week most weeks - providing they progress far in domestic cup competitions and in the Europa League - but, truth be told, would he get into the Dutchman's starting lineup on an extremely regular basis?


Everton's current crop of academy stars has never been better after their Under-23s squad won the 2016/17 Premier League 2 title, while the club's newfound wealth under billionaire majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri means they can now flash the cash for some of Europe's best upcoming stars.


With that in mind, would it not be better for the club to look to the future and bring in the next generation of potential superstars, and not an ageing forward who may demand a hefty wage to join and stunt the Toffees' talented crop of youngsters by blocking their path to the first-team?


Conclusion

Wayne Rooney of Everton

Some would welcome him back with open arms. Some would be willing to give him a chance. Some would turn their back on him.


Rooney's possible Everton return would certainly divide the club's fanbase, and could prove to be either a masterstroke or one of their biggest mistakes since the turn of the century.


There's no denying that bringing Rooney back to Goodison could be a hit rather than a miss, but maybe, just maybe, moving back home could be the key ingredient to him reigniting his career and love for the game.


If Rooney can help fire Everton throw the glass ceiling of the Premier League, and aid the club in ending its trophy drought, it would be a risk worth taking.


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