José Mourinho has insisted Chelsea remain "calm" over their options up front as they consider their next move in pursuit of Wayne Rooney, with the London club expected to make an improved bid for the England striker before the start of the season.
An initial offer worth about £20m was rejected last week and United continue to maintain that the player is not for sale. Yet there is quiet confidence at Stamford Bridge that the champions' stance could shift before the transfer window closes, with the player considering handing in a formal transfer request and United actively seeking to secure Cesc Fábregas from Barcelona.
Talk of Rooney has been off limits in the past week, the clubs having struck a private agreement not to comment on the player publicly. But when Mourinho was asked if there was any progress to report in the market after Thursday's 8-1 thrashing of an Indonesia All Stars XI at Utama Gelora Bung Karno stadium, he said: "No. At this moment we have made what you know – that bid, which was public and official – and after that nothing else. But we are calm, as we told you. We are calm because we are happy with what we have."
Romelu Lukaku scored twice in the victory, swelling his goal tally for the tour to four in three 45-minute appearances, and Demba Ba also found the net. Fernando Torres, who was granted extra time off after the Confederations Cup, will join the squad on Sunday in Cobham in advance of Tuesday's departure for a four-game tour of the United States.
"I think Fernando should be happy because we have competition in the team and I think that is good for everybody in every position," said Mourinho. "Fernando, I think, will be pleased because during his time at Chelsea he was basically the only striker and then, after that, there was the arrival of Ba in January. Now the team has three strikers and I think that is good." Yet, even with that trio in the ranks, Chelsea will continue to push for Rooney, even if his arrival could potentially be delayed until after the Londoners' trip to Old Trafford on 26 August.
That game will be David Moyes's first home league fixture in charge of the champions, though Chelsea could potentially move six points clear of their rivals by winning that match after their game against Aston Villa was brought forward to the Wednesday preceding it. The match at Stamford Bridge had clashed with Chelsea's participation in the Uefa Super Cup in Prague on 30 August but the Premier League has rescheduled it in the earliest available slot.
Villa begin the season with visits to Arsenal and Chelsea before they host Liverpool in the first week, though Mourinho was buoyed by confirmation of the switch. "It is fair because, with the Super Cup and Villa with their calendar, it would not have been fair to play this game one month or two months later. It is logical to play it at the start of the season, even though it is difficult for us and Villa. But it is better like this than to have moved it back."
Mourinho moved to allay fears over the state of Frank Lampard's achilles after the 35-year-old sat out his third successive pre-season friendly, the club's medical staff opting against using him on a patchy surface in Jakarta. He will start training again with his team-mates on Monday and will travel to the side's base in Washington DC.
There was praise, too, for John Terry, who started each of the three games and showed no signs of the injuries that disrupted his time under the interim manager, Rafael Benítez. "He played and trained very well and never missed one minute of any session," said Mourinho, whose side are due back in London on Friday morning. "That is very important because he is a very important player for us. He has trained very hard for 15 days and most of the days with two sessions, so that is more than three hours of training a day. Then he played well for us in all three matches. He has finished today playing well again. I am very happy with him."
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image: © jubei kibagami