Wayne Rooney has moved a step closer to a long-anticipated transfer to Paris Saint-Germain, with his exit potentially opening the way for Robert Lewandowski to move to Old Trafford, according to a source at Manchester United.
The French club have started dialogue with Rooney's representatives, and the forward is understood to now be open to the idea.
PSG actually made contact with United as far back as February over a possible transfer, upon learning that the Old Trafford club had made the decision to sell the forward for the right price.
Negotiations have continued since then intermittently, explaining much of the unrest that has characterised Rooney’s inconsistent campaign going back to the March Champions League game against Real Madrid, in which he started on the bench.
For his part, Rooney has not been completely settled at Old Trafford this season. As his relationship with former boss Alex Ferguson worsened, many around the United dressing room noticed he wasn’t as content as in recent years.
Although new manager David Moyes has patched things up with Rooney to a relative degree since the forward's spell at boyhood club Everton ended in acrimony, he is understood to be open to the move should personal terms be agreed. Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly prepared to pay Rooney in excess of £250,000 a week.
Rooney's sale may also set a chain of events in store that brings Lewandowski to Old Trafford, with United encouraged by the Pole's representatives that a deal may be possible. A club source has stated that much of the Premier League champions' transfer policy has been dependent on whether the English attacker leaves. If he does, United will attempt to act on their long-standing interest in Lewandowski.
Although the Borussia Dortmund striker's representatives have apparently agreed the principles of a provisional deal with Bayern Munich, they remain open to other high-profile offers.
His current Bundesliga club, meanwhile, would be more willing to sell to anyone other than Bayern after the Bavarian giants' contentious signing of Mario Goetze. Lewandowski is out of contract and can move for free in 2014, but United would look to bring him in before then, thereby trumping Bayern too.
However, Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp is holding onto the idea that Lewandowski will remain with the club.
“There is no topic on Lewandowski’s transfer right now,” Klopp told the Daily Star. “The rest of the team and I talk and think only about the final right now.
“My conclusion is that Robert is not leaving Borussia. He will play here for the next season. That is why I don’t want to even think about which club he may fit better.”