Manchester United will consider the sale of Wayne Rooney in the summer for a fee of around £35 million, ESPN understands.
An Old Trafford source said that any prospective transfer was dependent on a “complicated chain of events”, but one that could also see Cristiano Ronaldo end up back at the club.
With Rooney controversially demoted to the bench and the Portuguese not ruling out a return to United, Wednesday night’s Champions League clash between United and Real Madrid was dripping with transfer subplots.
It is known, however, that the Premier League leaders are actively looking into a way to bring Ronaldo back, and that there was more to Sir Alex Ferguson’s decision to drop Rooney than tactics or any injury concerns.
The United manager is understood to have scolded the England international about his fitness at the start of the season – the latest of a number of flashpoints between them since Rooney attempted to force his way out in October 2010.
Despite the now famous photos of Ferguson and his player smiling after a new deal had been signed at that time, their relationship has never fully healed. They also clashed at Christmas 2011, with the manager reportedly dropping Rooney for a Premier League fixture against Blackburn Rovers for disciplinary reasons.
This season has also marked the first time in three years that Rooney has not been the undisputed focal point of the team, after the arrival of Robin van Persie.