Manchester United have rejected an audacious bid from Chelsea for Wayne Rooney.
It is believed the Blues offered £10m, plus either Juan Mata or David Luiz for the 27-year-old.
However the bid is understood to have been rejected out of hand by the Barclays Premier League champions.
The stunning development comes less than 24 hours after the depth of Rooney's anger at comments made by United manager David Moyes became known.
With it looking increasingly like Rooney’s nine-year stay at Old Trafford is coming to an end, Chelsea have made their move.
And the fact Mata and Luiz have been deemed expendable in such a deal seems particularly significant.
That United should dismiss the offer so quickly is no surprise.
In recent weeks they have repeatedly insisted Rooney is not for sale, and the idea of selling to a domestic rival is particularly unpalatable.
Yet it is difficult to envisage how United can possibly hold that line right until the transfer window closes.
It increasingly appears Rooney’s position is impossible, with United fans likely to turn against their one-time hero.
And for Moyes, it represents a tricky situation given he is attempting to bolster his squad rather than weaken it.
Yet Rooney’s reaction to those comments given in a briefing during United’s stay in Bangkok last week has been the trigger for a further deterioration in the relationship between club and player.
Though it is thought Moyes did not wish the comments to come across as disparaging towards Rooney, that is exactly how they have been received with the player, now back in Manchester for treatment on a hamstring injury, said to be ’confused and angry’ over their content.
The offending words were delivered to Sunday newspaper journalists during a briefing with Moyes in Bangkok last week.
Moyes said: “Overall, my thought on Wayne is that if for any reason we had an injury to Robin van Persie we are going to need him and I want as many options as possible.”
As far as Rooney is concerned, he is at the peak of his career and has no intention of playing second fiddle to anyone, or being reduced to the rank of a squad player.
With four Premier League titles and a Champions League winner’s medal to his name, the 27-year-old does not believe he has anything to prove at United.
Yet he feels as though he has been put on trial by Moyes at a time when he should be concentrating his efforts on recovering from the hamstring injury that saw him sent home from United’s pre-season tour within hours of landing in Thailand on Thursday.
After months of speculation about his future, and no statement of intent to stay from the player, it is now clear that unless there is some major repair work undertaken, Rooney will be leaving.
The manner of United’s response is the first major test for Moyes and chief executive Ed Woodward since they replaced Alex Ferguson and David Gill respectively at the beginning of the month.