Manchester United are confident Wayne Rooney is ready to begin discussions on a new four-year contract worth a staggering £50million - as David Moyes prepares to wield the axe in a bid to ignite their Premier League season.

United executive chairman Ed Woodward has contacted Rooney's agent Paul Stretford a number of times in the past few weeks, and it is understood formal meetings will take place soon.

It is the first sign of a breakthrough between the player and the club since the breakdown in relations with Sir Alex Ferguson, aggravated by the former boss's insistence that Rooney, 28, had asked to leave the club, something the striker has always denied.

News that he wants to stay will delight Moyes, who will ditch players as he looks to freshen up his squad.