Wayne Rooney has risked increasing the speculation over his future after deleting the words “Manchester United player” from his Twitter profile page.
The England striker has replaced it with "NikeUK athlete".
In the last 24 hours it has emerged that the striker told Sir Alex Ferguson a fortnight ago that he wanted to leave Old Trafford.
The departing manager categorically rejected that request and though the club say they do not want to sell, the player's £250,000-a-week contract which has two years left to run will be difficult to renew at the same level, following Rooney's performance levels of this season. United stated: “Wayne Rooney is not for sale.”
The 27-year-old, who will now be asked to work for David Moyes, a manager who sued him over comments he made in his 2006 autobiography, did not know of Ferguson's intention to leave when he asked to go and Moyes' imminent arrival has not been a factor in his request.
Ferguson has dropped Rooney into a deep-lying midfield role which ill-suited him this season and said publicly that he must fight with Shinji Kagawa for a place behind the striker. Though their relationship is believed to have improved since Rooney was omitted from the side to face Real Madrid in the Champions League last 16 match at Old Trafford, he has been linked with Bayern Munich.
A meeting between outgoing chief executive David Gill and Cristiano Ronaldo's agent, Jorge Mendes, has also given rise to fresh suggestions that Ronaldo may be in line for an £80m return to Manchester, though Gill is no longer conducting transfer business, ahead of his own departure from United on June 30.