Wayne Rooney could be offered an unlikely route out of Manchester United by Real Madrid this summer.

Rooney is in the last 18 months of his Old Trafford contract and is unlikely to sign a new one, but he knows there is no way United will sell him to a domestic rival.

However, Real have the 28-year-old on a list of three forward targets this summer, behind Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero and Monaco’s unsettled Colombian Radamel Falcao. With City highly unlikely to let Aguero go and Falcao tied to a long contract in the south of France, Rooney would represent a cheaper option for Real, who are attracted by his form this season and the fact that he can play as a front-running striker or a No 10.

Real coach Carlo Ancelotti knows all about Rooney from his time at Chelsea, but the driving force behind the move is president Florentino Perez.

United will try to resist any attempts by Real to force through a transfer. They are happier to let Rooney run down his contract and leave for nothing in the summer of 2015.

Neither Rooney nor strike partner Robin van Persie trained yesterday, ruling them out of tonight’s Capital One Cup tie against Sunderland tonight. – Daily Mail