Sir Alex Ferguson has announced that Man Utd and its prize asset, Wayne Rooney, could be parting company. The fracture between a firm and its star, maverick employee is a scenario familiar to many workplaces. So how should a boss deal with it?
Some years ago, Tony Blair consulted Sir Alex about what to do when a senior player steps out of line.
According to the former prime minister's memoirs, he had his turbulent chancellor in mind when he asked the Man Utd boss what he would you do if he "had a really difficult but brilliant player causing problems".
Get rid of them, was the unequivocal response from the Scot, in an exchange which now lends considerable irony to the fix Sir Alex finds himself in now.
A few months after picking up the Premier League's player-of-the-year trophies, and glowing accolades from his manager, the team's star player Wayne Rooney has told a mystified and visibly-shocked Sir Alex that he wants to leave.
The announcement is a culmination of a difficult few months, coming after Rooney's drastic loss of form, unsavoury allegations about his private life, and his direct challenge of his manager's authority over an ankle injury, although Sir Alex denies there has been any falling out.
So the dilemma now facing one of the most experienced club managers in world football is one that will test all his famed Glaswegian nous - cash in on his prized talent in January before his value depreciates, possibly to the club's arch rival, Man City, or try to persuade him to stay, whatever the price.
In the past, Sir Alex has shown little appetite to indulge players who step out of line but, in ignoring the advice he gave Mr Blair, he says he wants to keep the door open for Rooney because of his ability.
Although few managers have employees on the payroll to the tune of a reported £90,000 a week, trying to get the best out of a troublesome talent is an exercise that many other leaders across all industries will have experienced in some way.
So what advice can management experts give to bosses when their star employee causes the following Rooney-esque problems?
More information on team players from The BBC website...