Manchester United want Wayne Rooney to sign a new contract keeping him at the club "well into his thirties".
Rooney's current deal expires in June 2015 — he will turn 30 in October that year — and United are set to propose a lengthy contract extension to ward off continuing interest from Chelsea.
They will not want Rooney to go into the final year of his current deal although it is understood that Chelsea have indicated they will bid again if he does so.
However, United will not rush into negotiations because they want the furore over the summer — when Rooney pushed for a move to Stamford Bridge and was clearly unhappy — to settle down.
Instead they want to ensure Rooney is content working in what one senior source said was the "new environment" under new manager David Moyes.
There remains the strong possibility that United might propose talks in the new year — although they are mindful that they do not want to push Rooney who has also endured a difficult time with injuries.
His most recent setback, a deep cut to his head, has ruled him out of England's World Cup qualifiers and he will probably miss United's next three matches. Rooney also suffered a hamstring injury — which ruled him out of United's pre-season tour — and a shoulder problem.
Indeed there is a well of sympathy at United towards Rooney and Moyes has worked hard to convince the 27-year-old that he is an extremely important part of his plans. "The manager and coaching staff have created a new environment," the source said. "There is no rush to talk about a new contract but let's say if, in January, there is a conversation and we could lock him (Rooney) in well into his thirties then we would do that." United have yet to decide whether they will make a fresh bid for Everton's Leighton Baines although purchasing a new left-back to add to their squad, and given Patrice Evra is now 32, remains a priority.
United will also continue their search for another central midfield player although they will not increase their single bid of £20million for Ander Herrera which was rejected by Athletic Bilbao.
The club rejected claims that they made an inquiry for Real Madrid's Sami Khedira and also that they missed out on Mesut Ozil who was offered to them but they declined because they want Rooney to play in that position. United would be interested in Cristiano Ronaldo if he becomes available next year.