Manchester United manager David Moyes has denied there is a rift with Wayne Rooney, as Chelsea continue to pursue the forward. The situation has taken a further turn with Rooney expected to turn out for England against Scotland on Wednesday, despite not being deemed fit to be involved for his club side in Sunday’s Community Shield. Rooney is thought to be set on leaving Old Trafford, while on Saturday ESPN reported that he has already told his teammates that he will be joining Chelsea. Yet, the message from Moyes has remained the same as he angrily refuted suggestions that Rooney training with the reserves was indicative of a problem between the pair.
"We don't want to sell Wayne," Moyes said in his press conference after the Community Shield. "Wayne has trained, and some of you might not like hearing this, but I didn't fall out with Wayne. Some of you wrote untruths. Wayne trained with the reserves because it was his asking. He couldn't have [physical] contact, he had a shoulder injury.
"I'm quite enjoying talking about Wayne because I'm hearing so many of you getting it wrong and I know most of you. I think you're a bit cleverer than that but some of you aren't acting that way.”
Chelsea have so far had two bids rejected for Rooney, with manager Jose Mourinho stating his determination to bring the 27-year-old to Stamford Bridge. As well as resistance from United, Chelsea could also face competition for Rooney’s signature. The Daily Telegraph has reported that Arsenal remain interested and that United may be more receptive to their advances with the Gunners not representing as direct a rival.
With a deal for Rooney still looking fraught with difficulty, there continue to be reports that Chelsea are considering Samuel Eto’o as a fallback option. The 32-year-old, who worked with Mourinho at Inter Milan, is available after his club Anzhi Makhachkala decided last week to dramatically cut their budget. Inter and LA Galaxy have also been linked to the former Barcelona man whose contract earns him a staggering £17 million a year and has a year left to run.
It remains to be seen how, even if Eto’o takes a significant pay cut, Chelsea will accommodate him, or indeed Rooney, on their wage bill. Fernando Torres would seem the likeliest of the club’s three strikers to make way but the Spaniard earns a massive salary and is sure to be hard to shop elsewhere.
If Mourinho is to strengthen elsewhere before the close of the transfer window he could well target a defensive midfielder. Bayern Munich’s Luiz Gustavo has been linked as one of the candidates to fill that particular void in the Chelsea squad, but he now appears close to a transfer to Arsenal. The Brazil international is reported to have been the subject of an offer from the Gunners and the 26-year-old has said he would welcome the move.
"My contract with Bayern runs until 2015 but it is very important that I play first-team football to keep getting called up for Brazil,” he said, according to The Guardian. “I am in a very delicate situation at Bayern and this needs sorting out. I have personal and professional reasons to move. I have heard about the Arsenal interest. It's a big club we're talking about here so of course I'd like to play for them.”