On Tuesday, Sir Alex Ferguson astonished pundits and fans alike by omitting Wayne Rooney from his starting line-up to face Real Madrid in the second leg of the Champions League last-16 clash with the Spanish giants.

It was a bold move, and one that, prior to the events of the game, perplexed most onlookers. It was a decision that would have been completely unprecedented two years ago and still difficult to comprehend now, and while Ferguson appeared to have got his tactics spot-on by leaving out the Englishman prior to Nani’s unfortunate sending off, there are many who claim that the end of the road is nearing for Rooney’s Old Trafford career.

The player came close to leaving the club back in 2010, only to be talked around by Ferguson and persuaded into penning a new contract, which presently has two more years left to run.

But there is a feeling within the footballing community that United are prepared to cash in on a player who used to be the golden boy at the Theatre of Dreams prior to the emergence of Robin van Persie. £25 million has been the quoted asking price according to recent reports, which Ferguson would almost certainly reinvest on a world class striker to bolster his side’s ranks.

But who, should rumours prove to be true, will replace Rooney at Old Trafford?

Here, we take a look at 5 World Class candidates.

Click “Next” to begin.

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This article was first posted on March 7, 2013