Wayne Rooney is still a Manchester United player, but it remains to be seen for how much longer that will be the case with Chelsea in hot pursuit of the England forward. A bid was launched from Stamford Bridge after reports emerged of Rooney being “angry and confused” by recent comments about his status at Old Trafford. The offer of around £20 million was rejected, but, with Jose Mourinho stating that Rooney is currently their only target, it is unlikely to be the end of the matter.
Rooney was at United’s training ground on Thursday as he continues his recovery from a hamstring injury, but, according to The Independent, the Premier League champions are prepared for an official transfer request to be submitted. The player’s camp have disputed Sir Alex Ferguson’s claim that he asked to leave at the end of last season, although the tensions were there for all to see. And Rooney is said to have made the club aware that he sees no improvement in his situation despite Ferguson being replaced by David Moyes.
A transfer request would make Rooney’s exit almost inevitable, although Chelsea are set to face competition for his signature. Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has again expressed his interest in the 27-year-old and insisted that his club would have no problem putting together a financial package to attract the player.
With complications still lying ahead for Chelsea completing a deal, Mourinho’s comments that it’s “Rooney or bust” must be treated with a certain degree of skepticism. Indeed Spanish sports daily AS has claimed that the Blues have made an offer for Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain. Both Juventus and Arsenal have pursued the Argentina international this summer but have been unable to match Madrid’s valuation, which is now said to stand at €40 million (£34.4m).
Napoli are also interested in the 25-year-old but it is difficult to envisage the Italian side meeting Madrid’s asking price either. Chelsea may also have doubts about whether it represents value for money, although Higuain has reportedly told his close advisers that “Mourinho wants me there.” Mourinho is thought to still have a good relationship with his former player having persuaded Higuain to stay for another season when he wanted to leave last summer.
The Portuguese coach may also be tempted to go back into the transfer market for a defensive midfielder. Roma’s Daniele de Rossi appears to be the leading target and, with the Serie A side having completed a deal for PSV Eindhoven’s Kevin Strootman, his exit may now be eased. The London Evening Standard believes that Roma are prepared to sell the 29-year-old, with talks having begun over a £12 million transfer.
Talksport has put forward another player that Chelsea are targeting for the role, with the website claiming that the Blues are interested in Bayern Munich midfielder Luiz Gustavo. The Brazil international could well see his playing time diminished further next season with Pep Guardiola adding to Bayern’s already stacked midfielder with the purchase of Thiago Alcantara. It is said that the 25-year-old would be available for upwards of £16 million.