“[Rooney’s agent] Paul Stretford, who I love dearly, is a great guy,” Cook told The Athletic.
“We’d always approached him and said: ‘would there ever be opportunity? Would you ever think about it?’ You’re always trying to find a way.
“[United chief executive] David Gill knew we were talking and that we’d had that conversation. And Paul told us: ‘we’re not averse to it, we’re going through a bit of a [contract] negotiation right now, but it’s not going well because they don’t want to sit down and talk to Wayne.’
“I think David, who is one of the most upstanding guys, always had confidence Wayne wasn’t going to go. For United, it was a case of: ‘let’s not let this get out of control, let’s get a grip of it before something stupid happens.’
“But we had conversations with Paul and we had a situation where I felt very confident. [Rooney] was part of our discussions within our internal team.