The cream of the world's chequebooks lined up to snap up the 24-year-old, with near neighbours Manchester City the likeliest to sign him - apparently.
Chelsea, Real Madrid and Barcelona were also in the frame but big-spending Blue Square Premier League Crawley who were forced out of the hunt despite offering him a golden handcuffs deal alongside Robert Pires and Luis Figo.
You're mine forever: Sir Alex welcomes Wayne Rooney back from his mental transfer to City
City remained hot favourites to sign the England striker however - right up to the moment the lynch mob appeared outside Rooney Towers and within hours a new United deal was signed and sealed.
He's now convinced that the Old Trafford club can match his ambitions so is happy to keep drawing the £130,000-plus per week salary that ended his hopes of a switch to Crawley until 2015.
So Reds boss Sir Alex Ferguson, so lost for words and perplexed just three days ago when Wayne revealed he wanted to leave, donned a slighty less perplexed and lost demeanour to pose cosily with the returned prodigal son.
Driving ambition: Wayne Rooney has been convinced to stay
AND A FEW MORE. FABIOAURELIO: Re-signed for Liverpool on a two-year deal in August 2010 -than three months after leaving Anfield under previous boss Rafael Benitez.RON ATKINSON: Two days after saying he had thebest job in the world managing Sheffield Wednesday, and had nointentions of leaving, he took over as boss of Aston Villa.STEVEMcMAHON: Blackpool announced manager McMahon had quit the club inJanuary last year only for the former Liverpool midfielder to turn upjust as the press conference was ending and request a meeting with thechairman Carl Oyston. After a brief discussion McMahon revealed he haddecided not to resign after all.
What the fans will make of all this is open to intense speculation.
The fact City thought they had Rooney will make them hate him even more and will his own set of supporters ever trust him again?
Will he ever kiss the United badge again?
I bet Patrice Evra wishes he hadn't said nasty things about the Roonster now - such as the players won't be able to trust him again.
The first training ground challenge between the two should be tasty.
However, Rooney isn't the first person to change his mind in a very public and he won't be the last.
Ferguson himself said he was going to retire in 2002 and move upstairs - but three months before his contract was to end, he signed a new one and is still there.
So here are Sportsmail's top 360-degree turn merchants.
Steven GerrardLiverpool's one-man team has been linked with a big-money switch to Chelsea and had done little to deny those reports.
However, after the 2005 Champions League triumph, Gerrard said: 'How can I leave after a night like this?'
Those words were still fairly warm when contract negotiations broke down on July 5 that year despite Liverpool offering around £100,000 a week.
You'll look happier in a blue shirt: Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho welcomes his new man Steven Gerrard - in his dreams
Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry admitted: 'Now we have to move on. Wehave done our best, but he has made it clear he wants to go and I thinkit looks pretty final.'
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho was the happiest man in the world and work soon began at Stamford Bridge to mass produce blue shirts with Gerrard on the back.
However, the very next day, Gerrard signed a new four-year deal as Parry blamed theearlier breakdown of talks on miscommunication between the two sides.
David UnsworthAgreed to join Aston Villa from West Ham when hisfamily failed to settle in London.
But, within a week of moving toVilla for £3million, John Gregory was forced to let the player go toEverton for the same fee when Unsworth revealed Villa - which he hadthought was somewhere near Bolton - was too far away from his nativeLancashire.
I taught him all he knew: Brief Villa man David Unsworth moved to Everton where he gave Wayne Rooney useful mind-changing tips
Mo JohnstonHaving left Celtic to play for Nantes in 1987, Scotland striker Johnston announced he would return there when his contract expired in 1989 despite vowing never to return to Scotland.
Bhoys fans were happy - he'd scored 52 goals in 140 League games for them.
But Rangers boss Graeme Souness had other ideas. Having seen his side beaten by Celtic in the 1989 Scottish FA Cup Final, Souness made a few phone calls and persuaded Johnston to sidestep Parkhead and come to Ibrox instead.
Half a Mo . I've joined Rangers
when I said I'd play for Celtic
Johnston duly turned blue as did the air in most of Glasgow as Celtic fans lined the streets to loathe a traitor while Rangers supporters saw the signing of a Roman Catholic as a betrayal of the club's traditions and not a case of one-upmanship.
Even 46 goals in 100 League games did not convince a lot of Gers fans and Johnston now lives a long way away - Toronto.
Joey BeauchampJoined West Ham from Oxford United for a feeapproaching £1million in 1994, but failed to settle because he missedhis home city and took a cut-price move to their local rivals Swindon without ever playing a game in claret and blue.
Within 15 months of leaving he was back at Oxford for a cut-price£75,000.
It really did happen: Joey Beauchamp in a pre-season friendly for West Ham
Faustino AsprillaThe Colombian once scored a champions League hat-trick for Newcastle against Barcelona and they were dancing on the streets of Darlington in August 2002 when chairman George Reynolds paraded him at Feethams as the biggest signing in the club's history.
An air-punching Reynolds led 'my good friend' Asprilla around the ground to tumultuous applause from Quakers fans, proudly announcing he'd signed a two-year deal.
The good times hadn't so much returned to Darlo but actually arrived for the very first time.
Dawning of a new era: Darlington chairman George Reynolds unveils the signing that never was - Faustino Asprilla
However, the move hit a snag when Asprilla twice failed to turn up for a medical, fled the country and disappeared without trace to the Middle East. He's not been back to England since.
It was too much for Reynolds to take who said: 'We made him a fantastic offer and I thought it was all in place. I am absolutely devastated.
'We're friends, myself and Faustino. I wined and dined him - but he knew about an alternative offer two to three days ago.
'He did not even have the decency to say goodbye. We offered him 20 per cent of the gate receipts, plus salary, plus a car, plus a flat rent free.
'I'll never ever talk to him again. He's completely sunk me.'
Frank McAvennieThe playboy footballer loved the good life the game gave him and was unimpressed playing second fiddle to Dean Saunders and Dalian Atkinson at Aston Villa.
I've got my man: Partick boss John Lambie with McAvennie shortly before he never played for the club
So when he was offered the chance to return to his native Scotland with unfashionable Partick Thistle in 1993 he took it.
He even wore the shirt and scarf for a photocall before deciding he'd rather be fashionable after all and return to a Celtic side still smarting over the Mo Johnston snub four years earlier.
And it was only short term, a two-month contract to start with.
Partick manager John Lambie raged: 'We have been cheated and our fans have been cheated.'
It was McAvennie's second spell with Celtic - he'd already been at West Ham twice and he ended his career with a second stint at St Mirren. He never played for Partick at any stage as there were no Page 3 girls living there.
Michael KnightonFootball visionary Michael Knighton bought Manchester United for a British record £20m in 1989 and vowed to make them the best in the world. So he thought.
I'm in charge now: Michael Knighton (right) with Martin Edwards at Old Trafford
He even walked onto the Old Trafford turf and played keepy-up for the whole length of it as bemused supporters wondered who the hell he was.
Knighton had agreed the deal with United chief executive Martin Edwards and had even pledged to plough £10m into developing the stadium.
The good times were about to return to United.
They did - but not with Knighton at the helm. One-by-one his financial backers pulled out, the deal fell through and the man with the moustache had to make do with Carlisle.
Given that Malcolm Glazer bought United for £790m in 2005, Knighton would appear to know a good deal when he sees one. Years ahead of his time, perhaps.
However, when he announced in 1996 he had been contacted by UFOs but had taken 20 years to reveal his secret, that aura disappeared.
Asa HartfordAt their peak, Leeds United were the most respected yet reviled team in England.Don Revie built a dynasty and to complete it in 1971 he decided to sign West Brom's promising 21-year-old midfielder Asa Hartford.
Leed-ing man: But Asa Hartford was snubbed by the Elland Road club
Hartford was going to link up with United legends Billy Bremner and Johnny Giles in midfield and Revie was delighted.
But the much-publicised and 'completed' deal was scrapped in November when a medical revealed Hartford had a hole in his heart and Leeds would not risk their cash on a player possibly on his last legs.
Now nearly 60, Hartford chalked up nearly 700 appearances and was still playing when he was 40, figures that prove he was in no immediate danger from his condition.
In fact, the only problem he had was almost dying of laughter when Match of the Day commentator David Coleman, while telling viewers of the saga, referred to Hartford as a 'whole-hearted player' - before spending the rest of the game, tongue-tied, trying to apologise for his unintentional pun.
Ian Storey-MooreNot many people left Brian Clough with egg on his face but Ian Storey-Moore did.He had scored over 100 goals in 230 games for Nottingham Forest when Clough proudly announced he'd signed the double-barrelled maestro in 1972.
This is why I joined you instead of Derby: Storey-Moore (right) with Best (No10) and Charlton
ISM had other ideas and decided to keep his red shirt and join Manchester United instead and team up with legends like George Best and Bobby Charlton.
He later revealed he had been 'encouraged' to snub Derby for United by his good lady wife, revealing just who wore the trousers and just wore the shorts in the Storey-Moore household.
Ronnie MooreNo relation to striker Ian - that's a true Storey - the Rotherham boss bade a fond farewell to the Millmoor faithful in October 2002 when he succeeded George Burley as Ipswich boss.
There were tears all round as Moore ended his four-year stint by saying: 'I have gone as far as I can at Rotherham and have worked hard to get this opportunity.'
Goodbye . but I'll be back: Ronnie Moore heralds the Millers fans
But even before Moore could get his car out of his parking space in Yorkshire, Ipswich declared they had no intention of allowing Moore to take the job. They didn't want him and a fax sent to Rotherham was in fact a forgery and nothing to do with the Suffolk side.
Moore returned to Millmoor for another three years, proving he had not gone as far as he could, and is still there having managed Tranmere for three years in between.
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