Real Madrid readying £25 million bid for Rooney as Mata deal reaches advanced stages
Spanish giants Real Madrid are preparing to test Manchester United's determination to keep Wayne Rooney at Old Trafford with a summer swoop for the £25 million striker.
Although United remain determined to resist all offers for Rooney, preferring to hold the 28-year-old to the remaining 18 months on his Old Trafford contract, Real believe that the England forward can be prised away from the Premier League champions at the end of the season.
Rooney's failure to commit his future to United and the prospect of playing again with Cristiano Ronaldo at the Bernabéu Stadium has given Real confidence that a deal can be struck for the player.
Manchester City forward Agüero remains Real's No 1 target, having been courted by the club since his prolific spell with Madrid neighbours Atlético, but neither City nor the Argentine have offered any encouragement that a deal can be done.
Agüero's decision to commit himself to a new contract at the Etihad Stadium last May, tying him to the club until June 2017, forced Real to abort plans to move for the player last summer and although their interest is ongoing, City's financial power and emergence as a genuine European power has forced Real to consider other options.
Rooney, Luis Suárez and Monaco forward Radamel Falcao are all regarded as potential acquisitions, with Real failing to bolster their striking department at the end of last season, but the United forward's contract stand-off at Old Trafford is regarded by Real president Florentino Pérez as the key to agreeing a deal for a player whose reputation remains high in Spain.
While Real pursued Falcao last summer, prior to his £51million transfer from Atlético to Monaco, the financial cost of luring the unsettled Colombian back to Madrid would dwarf the potential £25 million required to sign Rooney.
Manchester United are ready to overcome efforts by Atlético Madrid to hijack their £37 million move for Juan Mata by closing in on a club-record deal for the Chelsea midfielder before the weekend.
With Atlético prepared to offer United manager David Moyes first option on Diego Costa and Brazilian full-back Filipe Luís by withdrawing from the race for Mata, the Spanish club had re-emerged as candidates to sign the Spain international.
But United have been given encouragement that a bid for Mata will be accepted by Chelsea, despite Jose Mourinho’s preference for the player to remain at Stamford Bridge, and the two clubs are close to settling on a valuation of the former Valencia player.
With Atlético determined to bolster their push for the Spanish title by adding Mata to Diego Simeone’s squad, the Madrid club are prepared to hand United the chance to secure options on striker Costa and Luís, the £18 million-rated left-back who has been repeatedly scouted by Moyes’s staff in recent weeks.
United remain interested in Luís, but negotiations with Chelsea over Mata have now reached an advanced stage and Moyes is ready to follow through on a move for the playmaker before potentially submitting a bid for Luís once a deal for Mata has been completed.