How Rooney could win the title at Chelsea or Man City - but not Arsenal or Man United
Wayne Rooney wants out of Manchester United - and Chelsea lead the chase, although Arsenal are also said to be interested and Manchester City have been linked with the Scouser.
Intrigued by the parallel-worlds, sliding-doors possibilities of one of England's finest players possibly ending up at any of the league's top four sides, we wondered which alternatve universe would work out best for Wazza and his employers.
Instead of guessing or reading tea-leaves, we asked our friends at Football Manager to run simulations of the forthcoming season with England's icon at all four of the Champions League clubs - and the results were surprising...
Rooney stays at Manchester United
Not a vintage season for player or club. Making just 15 appearances in all competitions, Rooney is largely kept out of the team by a combination of Robin van Persie, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck, each of whom make more than 20 appearances. The Scouser scores just three goals - way behind the club's top scorer Van Persie, who bags 17.
Rooney joins Chelsea
A much happier tale for Rooney. He makes a total of 51 appearances for Chelsea; relishing the opportunity to play as central striker, he bags 21 goals to become the club's top scorer. Demba Ba is used as a left-winger, scoring 10 goals, while Jose Mourinho largely restricts Fernando Torres to substitute appearances. Rooney is rewarded by his peers, who name him the Players' Player of the Year.
Free-scoring Chelsea win the title for only the second time in eight seasons, finishing five points clear of runners-up Manchester United, who rather struggle for goals; Manchester City finish three points further back. The cups bring less joy for Mourinho, with semi-final defeats in both domestic competitions to eventual winners United and a Champions League campaign ending at the quarter-finals, but the manager - and his new star striker - can reflect on yet another league title.
Rooney joins Manchester City
Another happy ending for Rooney and his new club - and he doesn't even have to move to London. Making 41 appearances, the Scouser forms a deadly partnership with Sergio Aguero that yields 33 goals, 22 of them in the league - Rooney bags 16 in total, 12 in the league.
City win the Premier League, two points clear of Chelsea and a hefty eight points clear of their Mancunian rivals back in third place. Although United beat City in the Champions League and League Cup quarter-finals, Rooney's new side reclaim bragging rights by regaining the league, vindicating his controversial decision to cross the city divide.
Rooney joins Arsenal
Again, Rooney has a good season on a personal level - but this time it's not reflected in medal-winning glory. He makes a total of 48 appearances, usually as the main striker with Olivier Giroud relegated to a back-up role. With 21 goals - 15 in the league - Rooney is Arsene Wenger's top scorer.
However, Arsenal still finish in a distant fourth place, a whopping 23 points behind champions Manchester City (albeit only a point behind Manchester United). The Gunners reach the Champions League quarter-finals and FA Cup semis but once again fail to win any silverware. Indeed, they don't win any trophies in any of these four different simulations, finishing either fourth or fifth wherever Rooney ends up.
It's also worth noting that although Rooney can't help fire Manchester United to the title by staying at Old Trafford, the champions don't retain their title in any of these simulations. Indeed, although they finish second in the Rooney-at-Chelsea season, it's if they retain Rooney that they get their highest points total - and finish closest to the top. Perhaps there's something to be said for persuading him to stay...