Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson will prepare to face a media grilling about his relationship with Wayne Rooney on Tuesday afternoon amid growing speculation the England forward could be on his way to Manchester City.
The list of clubs who could realistically afford as Rooney, who has informed the United hierarchy that he will not sign an extension to his contract, is pretty short.
Barcelona are said to be trying to trim back their outgoings, while their bitter rivals Real Madrid invested heavily this summer.
Italy is not exactly awash with money, whilst Bayern Munich spent considerable amounts last summer building a squad to suit Louis van Gaal, while in England, only Chelsea or Manchester City would stump up the wages required to secure the forward's services.
The mere mention of City's name will send a shudder through most United supporters, who acknowledge what a positive impact Carlos Tevez has had since his own move across town to Eastlands.
At a time when they appear vulnerable after registering five draws in their opening eight games, United would resist that move with vigour. Yet Rooney has apparently indicated a willingness to join the cash-rich Eastlands outfit, for whom money is no object.
Having stirred up a heap of controversy last season by declaring an interest in Liverpool's Fernando Torres and reaped the rewards of Tevez's motivation to wreak havoc on his old club, Blues boss Roberto Mancini is hardly likely to shy away from such a deal.
There has been some conjecture that Rooney's advisors have come up with an elaborate plan to try and force more money out of United, having been unimpressed with a contract offer that was due to be negotiated immediately after his post-World Cup break.
But Rooney's grievances appear genuine and deep-rooted, possibly extending beyond the manner with which Ferguson has dealt with the issues over his player's personal life.
The United manager is thought to be unimpressed at Rooney's behaviour, just as the player is thought to be not too pleased at his club's recent recruitment policy.
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