The England international is said to be on the verge of leaving Old Trafford this summer, as his relationship with manager Sir Alex Ferguson hit rock bottom after he was dropped for their Champions League clash with Real Madrid.
But, the Red Devils are believed to be keen to draft in a replacement before they seriously consider bids for Rooney.
Their top target is Dortmund’s Robert Lewandowski, but an £18m move for the Polish star is dependent on their pursuit of Dzeko.
The Bundesliga champions have highlighted the Bosnian international as their transfer priority, and are believed to be willing to pay big to tempt City to sell.
The Sky Blues may well cut their losses on the man they signed from Wolfsburg, with manager Roberto Mancini frustrated by his misfiring attackers.
If Dzeko does return to Germany, Lewandowski may make the opposite journey to Manchester to sign at Old Trafford, freeing Rooney to move on.
City could then swoop for their rivals’ star man, as one of the only team’s who could realistically afford his rumoured £250,000-per-week salary.
Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain are also interested, but the Etihad Stadium-based outfit may pull out all of the stops to secure Rooney’s signature to anger their neighbours.