Manchester United 'front runners' to sign Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao

Such a move would cast doubt over the future of Wayne Rooney

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The Independent Football

Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao has been linked with a sensational summer transfer to Manchester United.

According to Marca, Sir Alex Ferguson's side are the front runners to land the Colombian marksman, who has notched 22 goals in La Liga this season. The Spanish newspaper even goes as far as to suggest that an initial payment may already have been made by United in order to secure his future.

Falcao has been the subject of increasingly intense transfer speculation for several months now, with both Chelsea and Real Madrid previously considered to have been his most likely destinations. Manchester City have also been linked with his signing, with the club widely expected to invest heavily in a new striker during the summer transfer window.

Rumours of Ferguson's interest in bringing Falcao to Old Trafford come at a time when there is huge uncertainty over the future of Wayne Rooney. 27-year-old Rooney has been used more sparingly by Ferguson since Robin Van Persie arrived at the club in the summer for an initial fee of £22.5m, and was said to have been furious at having been left on the bench for United's crucial Champions League Round of 16 second-leg defeat to Real Madrid.

Qatari-owned Paris Saint-Germain have recently been linked with a possible move for Rooney, with outspoken Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic publicly voicing his approval for such a move.