Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has expressed his delight that he has been able to all-but finalize his squad for next season so early in the summer. On his return to Stamford Bridge, Mourinho has been able to push through deals for Andre Schurrle, Marco van Ginkel and Mark Schwarzer, while the Portuguese also claims that he won’t be disrupted by players leaving late in the window.
“The sooner you have the players, the better," Mourinho said, according to Sky Sports. "You know the squad you have, you know what you have to work with, you have time for that. Many clubs are waiting to the last moment to make their decisions. The problem is that those decisions affect not just one or two clubs, but a lot of them.
"The one who sells has to go and buy, then they have to buy to replace, so no club is safe,” he added. “Until the last minute somebody can go there and steal a player. I don't mean steal a player, but steal the balance that a manager has when he's working with a team. In that aspect, we are lucky because we don't have players to sell, so none of my players is leaving under any circumstances.”
His comments about individuals leaving clubs could well be another subtle reference about the one player Mourinho claims that he still wants to add to his squad, Wayne Rooney. Mourinho insists that he is not playing mind games with new Manchester United manager David Moyes, but having had one bid rejected for the England forward, Chelsea are not yet ready to give up their pursuit.
Indeed, the Daily Mail reports that the Blues are set to return with a second offer worth £30 million for Rooney. For a 27-year-old who has entered the final two years of his contract there is sure to be some temptation on United’s part to sell, especially given the noises put out about Rooney’s discontent. Still, United’s public message has not changed that Rooney, who is still recovering from a hamstring injury, is not available.
“We have said and the club have said he is not for sale,'' Moyes said on Tuesday, according to ESPN. “That has not changed. I do expect Wayne to be in Stockholm [for a pre-season friendly on August 6]. As far as I know, he is coming.”
Reports last week suggested that Mourinho was also keen on a reunion with Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain. The Argentinian has made clear his desire to leave the Bernabeu and has been strongly linked with Arsenal this summer. But it looks unlikely that he will now be coming to the Premier League with Spanish sports daily AS reporting that he is close to a move to Napoli, worth an initial €37 million (£31.8m).
If Mourinho was to add to another area of his squad before the transfer window shuts at the end of August it is likely that it would be the center of his midfield. The Blues often lacked an influential, physical presence in that key department last season and that is something that the return of injury-weakened Michael Essien and the signing of the more attack-minded Van Ginkel is unlikely to resolve.
Chelsea have been strongly linked with Roma’s Daniele de Rossi, with speculation suggesting that the loyal servant to the Serie A side could be available. Roma’s signing of central midfielder Kevin Strootman has further fuelled that line of thinking. And Roma president James Pallotta, also co-owner of the Boston Celtics, has refused to rule out selling the 29-year-old. "De Rossi? We’ll see,” he said, according to the Daily Star. “Everybody is on the market, just as they are for the Boston Celtics."