Manchester United are reported to be planning to sell Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy to Real Madrid for £30m and will use the money to sign 18-year-old England striker Wayne Rooney from Everton.

According to reports in the British press, United, Real and van Nistelrooy’s agent had been negotiating during Euro 2004.

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson needs to raise cash to sign Rooney and with rumours circulating that his relationship with Van Nistelroy has broken down, the Dutch striker appears to be the man to make way.

Rooney, who scored four goals in three games at Euro 2004, has been tipped to leave his club since his sudden emergence on the international stage. Chelsea are known to be interested in signing him, but Rooney is not keen to move to London, leaving United in pole position.

Meanwhile, Everton manager David Moyes, has already admitted: “There are bids you would find impossible to refuse.”

The club finished one place above the relegation zone last season and with debts approaching £30m, they will find it difficult to turn down a sizeable bid for their most prized asset.

Rooney has two years left on a £13,000-a-week contract and although the club have offered an improved deal, the youngster has yet to sign it.