Chelsea are leading the race to sign Wayne Rooney, with the Mirror reporting Roman Abramovich has personally sanctioned a move for the forward.

The England international is believed to have told his team mates of his wish to move to Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich but the west London club could be ready to hijack that £30m deal.

Wayne Rooney (R)

It is understood the Stamford Bridge club has already opened negotiations with Rooney's representatives and Abramovich will pay the same £30m that Munich offered. The German giants were expected to move for the former Everton man on the advice of incoming coach, Pep Guardiola.

Speculation surrounding Rooney's future has been a constant feature of English football ever since he was dropped for the second leg of a Champions League knock-out tie against Real Madrid.

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has sought to dispel rumours surrounding his former star's future but news Ferguson will retire in the summer and possibly be replaced by Everton boss David Moyes may finally see Rooney leave; rumour has it that Moyes and Rooney do not get along well.

However, the official line from Old Trafford maintains that Rooney "is not for sale".

Abramovich has reportedly told Rooney's representatives the striker will be the first marquee signing, to welcome the second coming of former coach José Mourinho. The Portuguese is expected to leave his present post at Real Madrid in the summer, after several fallouts with key players, fans and, reportedly, even president Florentino Perez.

Gascoigne Regrets Not Joining United

Former Tottenham and England forward Paul Gascoigne has revealed he regrets not joining United in 1988. The troubled striker opted to join Spurs instead.

"He [Sir Alex Ferguson] always says one of his greatest regrets was not signing me, but I think it was the other way round, me not signing for the guy. I've been watching some of his documentaries of what he's won and what he's achieved. There are only a couple of managers when I played who I would love to have been in the dressing room with and he's certainly one of them, to have seen what he would have been like. I know I would have had a lot more trophies in my cabinet if I went with him. It was a massive missed opportunity," Gazza told Sky Sports.