Manchester City will make another swoop for Wayne Rooney if the Manchester United star’s truce with Sir Alex Ferguson fails to hold.
United joined forces with the Rooney camp on Friday night to rapidly dismiss claims that the player’s relationship with his illustrious manager has been damaged beyond repair.
But Sunday Mirror Sport understands that tensions continue to simmer between the two biggest personalities at Old Trafford.
If the peace pact agreed by United and Rooney’s advisers fails to hold, Roberto Mancini will ask Sheikh Mansour to bankroll a £60million transfer that will stun football.
City thought they were about to prise Rooney away from their bitter rivals when we exclusively revealed in October 2010 that the England striker wanted to quit Old Trafford.
Ferguson persuaded United’s owners that they could not afford to lose their best player – even if it meant paying him £250,000-a-week – and a new contract, keeping Rooney at United, was urgently brokered.
But sources inside Old Trafford claim the rift between Ferguson and Rooney has never been fully healed.
The United boss was furious that his personal ambition – as well as the club’s commitment to the future – was questioned by Rooney when the striker explained his reasons for wanting to quit the club.
Although United reclaimed the Premier League title and reached the Champions League Final last season, Ferguson’s recruitment policy in the last 14 months has done little to allay fears that the quality of his squad now pales in comparison to the one being built at the Etihad Stadium.
Rumours persist that United will ask Paul Scholes to come out of retirement to help save a season that will be plunged into further crisis if they fail to beat City in the FA Cup today.
The Reds are still only three points behind their rivals in the title race despite suffering a 6-1 derby-day demolition in October.
But they have lost successive games against Blackburn and Newcastle as the problems between Rooney and Ferguson once again came to the fore.
The United boss didn’t hesitate to axe Rooney from the team to face Rovers when the striker turned up for training lethargic after going out on Boxing Day evening.
And although Rooney was recalled for the subsequent trip to Newcastle, he was substituted as United lost 3-0.
Rooney has often cut a frustrated figure this season and his body language has not gone unnoticed in the corridors of power at Old Trafford.
A club insider said: “Wayne has developed a habit of throwing his arms up in anger when things aren’t going well. He has been told a couple of times to cut out the histrionics.”
Mancini remains a big admirer of Rooney and is in the market for another match-winning forward.
The City boss would need to convince his Abu Dhabi-based employers to make another move for a player who has snubbed them once before.
And City would have to find significantly more than the £50million they were ready to pay for Rooney because he still has almost four years left on the contact he signed in 2010.
Source: mirror football