Jose Mourinho believes Sir Alex Ferguson will talk Wayne Rooney into staying at Manchester United.
While Ferguson is finalising his plans for a response to the eruption around Rooney, which is expected to be delivered on Tuesday, Mourinho has offered his own thoughts.
"I don't think he will (become available)," said the Real Madrid boss. "I think the big man will persuade him to stay."
Thus far, Ferguson has kept his own counsel, although he looked relaxed as he attended a £1million extension of United's charitable work for UNICEF at Old Trafford on Monday afternoon. He left Old Trafford before any of his own thoughts on Rooney could be offered.
Behind the scenes however, work is under way to try and fashion some kind of response to a situation United's insiders admit has caught them by surprise, if only because of the manner of it.
Suggestions of high-level conversations involving United officials on Monday gave rise to the idea Rooney was being persuaded to sign a new contract, even though he has told United he will not do so when his current deal expires in 2012.
But Press Association Sport understands this is not the case and the entire stand-off remains exactly as it was on Sunday, when it became apparent exactly how fractured the relationship between Rooney and Ferguson has become.
Ferguson will doubtless be questioned on the issue on Tuesday when he is due to attend a press conference ahead of United's Champions League encounter with Turkish champions Bursaspor.
Chief executive David Gill at least hinted some clarification of the Rooney situation would eventually be made.
"We will say something at an appropriate time. But this is not an appropriate time," he said.
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