London, May 19 (ANI): Barcelona is preparing a massive bid of 80 million pounds for Manchester United's ace striker Wayne Rooney.
Double Footballer of the Year Rooney, 24, was with England's squad in the Austrian Alps unaware of Barcelona making discreet moves to take him to La Liga.
Barcelona's interest in Rooney has similarities with Real Madrid's pursuit of Cristiano Ronaldo and football power on the pitch and politics off it are interwoven in their interest in him, The Daily Express reports.
Europe's most attractive club has been knocked off their perch after their Champions League semi-final defeat against Inter Milan.
Coach Pep Guardiola is keen to restore the side to the top immediately and will seek reinforcements, the paper said.
Barcelona also has advanced plans to sign Valencia's David Villa and Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas, but the real coup would be a successful move for Rooney, it added.
The Barcelona camp has activated agents to sound out the possibility of a Rooney move.
Rooney is still under contract with United until 2012, but selling the club's biggest asset will help them prevent making a loss of more than millions of pounds. (ANI)