Wayne Rooney is set for a sensational departure from Manchester United, if widespread reports in the English media are to be believed.
Rooney set for United exit?
It is said that well-placed United sources are suggesting that Rooney is refusing to sign a new contract to stay at Old Trafford and that irreconcilable differences with manager Sir Alex Ferguson are said to be at the root of his desire to leave the club he joined in 2004.
Rooney was a mere substitute, and an ineffective replacement when coming on with just 18 minutes to play of Saturday's 2-2 draw with West Bromwich Albion. That team selection came after Rooney had denied in midweek that he has been suffering the ankle injury that Ferguson had stated was the reason behind his repeated absence from United's line-up.
The 24-year-old is yet to reignite the form that saw him win the PFA Player of the Year award in the 2009-10 season, and has looked rather more akin to the ailing figure of the summer's World Cup finals. He has also been under a heavy media glare after tabloid revelations about his private life were splashed across newspapers in September.
The Daily Mail suggests that Rooney was telling England colleagues before the Euro 2012 qualifier with Montenegro that his time at United is coming to an end, and that Rooney has been unhappy about his non-selection against Fulham, Everton, Sunderland and Valencia.
Ferguson is no stranger to fall-outs with his leading stars, and, with Rooney having just over eighteen months on his contract then it is highly possible that if any such rift continues then he may even be sold in January 2011.
Sunday morning reports planted the seeds of such a schism between Rooney and the club he has repeatedly said he would like to stay at for the rest of his career before an official United statement dismissed the reports as "nonsense".