Manchester United are set to sell Wayne Rooney in the summer, this morning's papers report.
The England striker was "furious" about his omission from the starting line-up against Real Madrid, and is no longer considered indispensable by Sir Alex Ferguson.
So, where might Rooney end up if he leaves Old Trafford - and how would he look playing for his new club?
Manchester City - 4/1
When Rooney held United to ransom a few years back, City were widely seen as the only viable option for the England star. They had the money, and - unlike Lionel Messi's Barcelona or Cristiano Ronaldo's Real Madrid - the space in their team for another mercurial forward. The sky blue kit doesn't exactly accentuate his abs, while Fergie would be loath to sell to his biggest rivals, but if the offer is too good to refuse...
Paris Saint-Germain - 4/1
On paper, PSG surely have the best chance. They have more than enough money to afford Rooney's transfer fee and wages and, with Ligue 1 not quite as strong as the other top leagues, the club's owners can afford to experiment with marquee players. Not that Rooney wouldn't be an excellent addition to the team, probably at the expense of Ezequiel Lavezzi. The Beckham-effect has already been felt off and, to a lesser extent, on the pitch; as a player regarded as being somewhere near Europe's best, Rooney would have a greater impact. The dark kit slims him too. The only thing counting against PSG is whether Rooney would be willing to move to France.
Chelsea - 16/1
Roman Abramovich usually gets his man but does he really want Rooney? There is no doubt he would see it as a coup, and that Chelsea's fans would admire Rooney's all-action style. But surely the Russian has learned now that he cannot continue to meddle in team affairs, particularly by bringing in big-name strikers his coach may not necessarily want or need? Twice bitten etc. And would Rooney take what would be undoubtedly a step back from United? If indeed Rooney does become available, City can offer instant success and a degree of managerial stability, plus he would not need to move house(s); PSG can offer instant success, the glamour of Paris and a new challenge. Unlikely.
Bayern Munich -16/1
Arjen Robben has got the hump recently, so there could be room for Rooney's superstar ego in the Bayern XI. That red shirt seems to suit him too. Pep Guardiola will be a huge draw, but for some reason the Bundesliga's stock is not as high among English footballers as it is with English fans. Would he learn the language? Would he adapt to FC Hollywood's tough dressing room? And would he be able to resist the beery delights of traditional Bavarian culture? It would be nice to think the likes of Rooney or Gareth Bale could light up the Bundesliga, but it is unlikely.
Real Madrid - 20/1
These are pretty good odds given a very uncertain summer at Real. Many are expecting coach Jose Mourinho to leave, probably to return to the Premier League, and if that happens there could be big changes on the playing staff. Rooney fits Florentino Perez's 'galactico' brief: an instantly-recognisable global superstar forward who sells shirts and scores goals. Rooney's bustling style would set La Liga alight, but any move to Madrid is entirely dependent on what happens in the close season. A part-exchange deal with Ronaldo has been mooted, and it is not completely out of the question with C-Ron seemingly less than happy at Real and, despite stricter tax laws, able to earn more in England by having full control of his image rights. Were this to happen it would be one of those chain-reaction transfers, where a single key change in personnel becomes a game changer - if Jose and/or Ronaldo were to leave, Perez would seek to placate the fans with as many big signings as possible. Don't rule it out.
Or... Manchester United - 4/11
Better the devil you know and all that. Rooney has 'gamed' United once, and this could well just be belated revenge from Fergie. Dropping Roo for such a big game could either spring him into a new lease of life - it has worked with the likes of Ryan Giggs in the past - or depress him into wanting out, as we saw with Dimitar Berbatov. There is every chance that Rooney could emerge a better man and player from this, or that he will simply sit tight on his lucrative contract, knowing he will play plenty of games and that his England career will suffer no harm. The size and length of his deal - two-and-a-half more years at around £220k a week - could put off suitors, even if he is only available for £20m. And there's no way he'll go to Anzhi.
Where do you think Wayne Rooney will be next season? Have your say below!
- Sports & Recreation
- Real Madrid