Initial reports of a bid from Chelsea for Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney had suggested the Blues were willing to negotiate a part-exchange deal with either Juan Mata or David Luiz moving in the opposite direction.
The club then denied those reports but confirmed that they have made a bid for Wayne Rooney (presumably cash-only) and outlined the 27-year-old England number 10 as their primary target this summer.
Manchester United’s stance on the matter is that Rooney is not for sale and will remain a Manchester United player but it’s a cumbersome situation the club and new manager David Moyes – he doesn’t want to be seen to lose face and be held over a barrel by the player whose contract expires in 2015.
If you asked Moyes if he would prefer not have to deal with Rooney and his behavior and his £250,000 a week in wages, I’d expect he’d admit he’d rather offload him to the highest bidder. But the club cannot set that kind of precedent and allow him to engineer a move away from Old Trafford and certainly not to abscond to a rival club like Chelsea (or Arsenal either).
However, whilst the tug of war over Rooney carries on, United are still trying to sign a top quality midfield playmaker after having failed in their attempts to sign Thiago Alcantara of Barcelona who has now moved to European champions Bayern Munich and so far their efforts to sign his former teammate at Barcelona and former Arsenal skipper Cesc Fabregas have also been rebuffed by the Spanish champions.
How about this – United could appease the fans and save face effectively by letting Rooney go if it’s in part-exchange for a top quality midfielder of Thiago or Fabregas’ level. Why don’t they just offer Chelsea a deal with Rooney allowed to go to Stamford Bridge and, for example, Oscar moving the other way?
Obviously Juan Mata would be ideal but I can’t see the Blues letting him go – I genuinely don’t think they want or need Rooney that badly – but Oscar is perhaps more negotiable.
Rather than having to fend off Chelsea and carry on this saga with Rooney and on the other hand keep battling to sign a quality midfielder, United should just kill two birds with one stone, effectively.
I suspect the club wouldn’t mind getting rid of Rooney at this point and they’re desperate for a top quality midfielder – Oscar is exactly that.
He’s just 21, he’s valued around £25 million (he cost Chelsea £19.35 million a year ago), he’s spent the season adapting to the demands of the Premier League and the Champions League, he’s a senior international with Brazil, has earned 22 caps and scored 6 goals despite his age, he scored 12 goals and made 12 assists for Chelsea across all competitions last term and he’s only going to get better.
He's proven himself one of the finest passers of the ball in the league, he can shoot from distance, he can dribble, he's got great vision and he really ought to be player a further forward role to improve and develop but obviously that role is usually filled by Mata as present.
Rooney’s fitness and form have been inconsistent for the last couple of years and with all the rigmarole over his contract and his wages and his transfer request, United could just cut their losses – except this way, they wouldn’t appear to be losing a player to a rival, they’d save themselves the embarrassment, and gain a top quality player in a position they desperately require some quality.
image: © Ben Sutherland