Rumours are circulating that Wayne Rooney is becoming increasingly frustrated at Manchester United and is ready to quit the club when the transfer window re-opens in January.
The England international has supposedly watched his relationship with manager Sir Alex Ferguson disintegrate, while he particularly felt unsupported as his private life unravelled in the headlines over the summer.
Rooney and Ferguson were obviously on different wavelengths ahead of the 2-2 draw with West Brom, as the striker was chosen to start on the bench.
Ferguson stated that this was because Rooney was nursing an ankle problem, but Rooney responded by saying that he was carrying no such injury.
The draw has seen United slip five points behind Chelsea at the top of the table and they are now out to 4/1 to win the Premier League this season.
Rooney’s contract at Old Trafford expires in the summer of 2012, although an extension is already on the table that would make him the club’s highest paid player.
However, with indications that Rooney is refusing to sign, United may be forced to sell at the earliest possible opportunity to prevent his value plummeting.
Barcelona, Real Madrid and local rivals Manchester City are all monitoring the situation and a bidding war would almost certainly transpire should it become clear that Rooney is available for transfer.
The speculation has resulted in Rooney being installed at 5/2 to start the 2011/12 Premier League season as a Manchester City player.
After almost single-handedly keeping United in the title race last season, Rooney has made virtually no impression during the current campaign and has managed just one goal.
Dimitar Berbatov has instead taken over the duties of leading the line, while if Rooney was to leave, Javier Hernandez and Federico Macheda are young talents who may be trusted to fill the void.
If not, Ferguson may approach Real Madrid with a bid for long-term target Karim Benzema.
Rooney’s lack of goals have seem him slump to 25/1 to end the season as the Premier League’s top scorer. See the complete Premier League top goalscorer betting odds market.