Rooney could leave Man Utd for just £5m next summer

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Loophole means striker can force cut-price deal

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As if rumours Wayne Rooney is being entranced by the vapours wafting from Man City’s petrodollars wasn’t bad enough for United fans, it appears an obscure FIFA ruling means the striker could stroll out of Old Trafford next summer with Manchester United receiving a fraction of his value in compensation.

The ‘Webster ruling’, named after Rangers defender Andy Webster, who set a legal precedent in forcing a move from Hearts to Wigan four years ago, means players can quit clubs by buying out the last year of their contract and paying a small compensation fee.

According to the Spanish law firm involved in every Webster ruling case so far, Ruiz Herta y Crespo, Rooney qualifies for the move because he is past the three year protection period in which clubs can block players attempting to slip out of their contracts.

However, the option is only available to the 24-year-old during the summer transfer window – meaning he might force United’s hand come January.

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