Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 3/14/13
AS Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain lurk outside of the Manchester United shop window, hoping to pounce on Wayne Rooney if United puts him up for sale. The French clubs are ready and willing to offer as much money as it takes to land the English star this summer. British media outlets are reporting that Monaco wants Rooney to headline its return to Ligue 1 (the French first division), while PSG sees him as a potential replacement for Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Speculation over Rooney’s future has been rife ever since Sir Alex Ferguson dropped him from the starting lineup ahead of United’s biggest game of the year (last week’s loss to Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League). Reports suggest the omission widened an existing rift between the player and manager. Rooney’s contract expires in 2015, and reports claim United will sell him for as little as £20 million ($31 million) rather than offer him a new deal. Ferguson denies the rumors, saying Rooney will play for United next season, but the speculation persists. PSG’s interest in the United star dates back to last summer when it reportedly considered launching a transfer bid but backed away in the end. The French club signed Ibrahimovic instead, adding star-power to its ambitious project. The Mirror reports Ibrahimovic hasn’t settled in Paris, and PSG is turning its gaze on Rooney once again. “Zlatan Ibrahimovic could leave Paris Saint-Germain — paving the way for a £35 million bid for Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney by the money-bags French side,” the report says. “Ibrahimovic is said to be disillusioned with life in France after less than one season, and could be ready to move on this summer to what would be the eighth club of his nomadic career. “That would leave the mega-rich Qatari-owned PSG free to raid the Old Trafford club for Rooney.” Monaco was a Champions League finalist in 2004, but it fell from grace in latter part of the last decade. It is currently leading Ligue 2  and making grand plans for its return to the French top flight. Monaco emerged as a suitor this week, after the Daily Star reported that its billionaire owner Dmitry Rybolovlevit told club officials to break the bank for Rooney. “Starsport can reveal Monaco officials have told Rooney’s camp they are prepared to blow their rivals ‘out of the water’ with a huge transfer fee and tax-free wage deal,” the report claims. “Fellow super-rich French side Paris St-Germain and German giants Bayern Munich are also keen on the unsettled England hitman, with Rooney himself understood to fancy Barcelona.” Monaco has been linked with moves for Manchester City’s Carlos Tevez and Samir Nasri. This suggest Rybolovlevit intends to return the to European competition as soon as possible. Rooney would highlight the project and signal the club’s financial clout. PSG has already demonstrated its (financial) heavyweight status, and it will be a player — along with Manchester City, Bayern and Barcelona — in the Rooney race should United make him available. Have a question for Marcus Kwesi O’Mard? Send it to him via Twitter at @NESNsoccer, NESN Soccer’s Facebook page or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.
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