Manchester United manager David Moyes has offered captaincy to striker Wayne Rooney, who has only 18 months left on his current contract, with a staggering 78 million-pound deal in a bid to seal his stay for the team.
Juan Mata has already been captured from Chelsea in a 37 million pounds club record deal and is expected to be the first signing in a 200 million pounds transformation of the fading Premier League champions, Express.co.uk reports.
United's hierarchy have also opened talks with Rooney's representative Paul Stretford over a new long-term deal likely to make him the Premier League's best paid player on more than 300,000 pounds a week, giving him parity with La Liga superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, the report added.
In a bid to convince Rooney that his future should be at United, Moyes is understood to have offered the striker captaincy next season and remind him that he is only 42 goals from overtaking Sir Bobby Charlton as the club's all-time record scorer. Current skipper Nemanja Vidic, his deputy Patrice Evra and Rio Ferdinand are all set to leave this summer, while longest-serving player Ryan Giggs is likely to retire to concentrate on coaching duties.
That will leave Rooney, who will be 29 in October, as one of United's senior statesmen and in line for the armband. Rooney has also been given privileged access to United's transfer targets and rebuilding plans to convince him that his future lies at Old Trafford.
The efforts taken with Rooney by Moyes are in marked contrast with Alex Ferguson, who told the striker that it "was none of his (Rooney's) business who we should have gone for" when the player questioned the club's ambitions in October 2010 and criticised the United manager for failing to sign Mesut Ozil. Under Moyes, he has the chance to sign the largest contract for an English footballer and, at 28, probably to see out his career at Old Trafford as a senior figure.