If Wayne Rooney was sold tomorrow, how much would he cost?
The chances are it would be higher than £20 million, despite logic pointing to it being a relatively reasonable offer.
Or is it? Because the chances of Manchester United selling the Englishman for that figure are low-to-none, with officially Rooney being 'not up for sale.'
The striker is due to meet with David Moyes when he returns to pre-season training (from Glastonbury) on Wednesday, and give an indication of his future then.
An offer of £20 million sounds like a real 'opening gambit' on the part of Arsenal, if the Mirror's story is true, for it would not constitute fair value for a player United believe still has plenty to give at the top level.
Which is the point being debated here, for how much time Rooney does have at the top of his game would dictate his transfer fee, and how that question is perceived by key people - the United hierarchy and men in charge at bidding clubs.
Rooney is now 27, it's 11 years on since he stunned Arsenal's David Seaman with his first Premier League goal as a record-breaking 16-year-old boy wonder.
He was tipped as world football's next big star, even dubbed the 'White Pele' by the swashbuckling British press, who were crying out for a new talisman with David Beckham moving his career abroad.
Rooney filled that void, starring at Euro 2004 before injury curtailed his and England's progression, but it was enough to see Manchester United splash out in the region of £30 million on his signature from Everton, leaving a frustrated David Moyes in his wake.
As Rooney considers whether he wants to work under Moyes once again, looking at his career it is accurate to say he has not lived up to the ridiculous expectation placed upon him as a teenager, but has enjoyed a lot of success.
Rooney is a Champions League winner and a five-time Premier League winner, and he is on course to become England's all-time leading goalscorer. Yet his form is often described as 'streaky', scoring in bursts and looking disinterested at other times, and a failure to shine with England at successive international tournaments have burned his reputation, as has his off-field extra-marital misdemeanours.
Heading into the final seven or eight years of his career, Rooney, a player whose fitness is at times derided and professionalism questioned, he comes with surely guaranteed goals, despite a number of questions hanging over him.
Questions over his best position raise their head, and a diminishing goal tally, especially those from open play, and a woeful catalogue of penalty misses all crop up in the negative column for prospective buyers, and it's fair to say any club would not be looking at the same exciting player who cost £30 million nine years ago.
Yet markets change, and Rooney's star power is an attraction too. If Arsenal believe United would sell a player two years younger and with superior fitness record to Robin van Persie for £4 million less, then they are mistaken, as they are with the Red Devil's approach to not strengthening their rivals.
A major bid would be needed, and Rooney could be iconic for Arsenal. While his wages are a huge challenge for them, potentially negating money they would put towards adding to a transfer fee, they must take into account that United hold the cards and it is they who must persuade to sell and not the other way around.
£20 million for Rooney may appear to have logic, but it is a cheap offer from Arsenal, especially considering United could use Rooney's star power to attract a higher offer from a club who could utilise his reputation like Monaco, PSG or even Real Madrid and offer substantially more for him.
Whoever has Rooney for the next seven or eight years of his career, can expect for all his negatives, for the player to score in the region of 100-150 goals for the club.
That is the true value Manchester United and Arsenal must place on Rooney. Goals are invaluable and Rooney has displayed consistency over the course of his career, also ranking high in United's team each season for assists.
His decision this summer is likely to be pivotal for the rest of his career, so given that strikers who are capable of scoring 100-150 goals for clubs over the course of their contracts do not come along easily, expect any transfer fee to be set at a very high price indeed.
If Arsenal want him, as crazy as it may sound, it may take an offer of double their £20 million offer to prise him from United, and that is not really in Arsene Wenger's financial model.
What price would you place on Wayne Rooney?
image: © nasmac