We all know that Chelsea have had their latest bid for Wayne Rooney, thought to be in the region of £30m, rejected by Manchester United, who have just announced that the player will no take part in their final pre-season tour match at the weekend because of a shoulder injury.
Chelsea have been no stranger to marquee signings in the last ten years, and this summer they have been in pursuit of Rooney, who has been unsettled at Manchester United for the past season, and lately with new manager David Moyes revealing he'd plan to use him primarily as cover for last season’s top scorer Robin Van Persie.
Rooney demonstrates the qualities of a top class goalscorer. A record of 141 goals in 275 games since signing for the current champions is an impressive strike rate, equating to a goal in less than every other game.
But there is much more to Rooney's game than being a goalscorer. Former manager Sir Alex Ferguson played Rooney in midfield on several occasions, allowing him to be the extra man to pack the midfield to create more of a solid unit, a role which Rooney looked comfortable in, and which allowed him to demonstrate a passing ability that you would expect from a top class midfielder.
In a Chelsea side which has a wealth of talent, however, where would he fit in ? The striking options might be limited – though he may be ahead of Fernando Torres in the pecking order, and Demba Ba too – but Romelu Lukaku will also throw his hat into the ring for a starting place at the head of the Chelsea attack, given his impressive form on loan at West Brom last season.
Playing as a spearhead probably wouldn’t be the best option for Rooney anyway, as he would operate better between the lines, being able to link play and slot into midfield to keep the unit solid - something which aligns with Mourinho's style of play.
If Rooney were to play off a main front man, however, the selection headache would then be where to play Juan Mata ? Would he go wide or have a deeper role, or would Mourinho deploy Rooney in a wider position (or would they interchange giving them freer roles) ? If so, then only one of Eden Hazard or Oscar, one would think, would operate as part of that trio.
There's no doubt that Rooney is a born winner, and his time at United could be a massive benefit to Chelsea – another member of the squad who would know how to win titles and the Champions League, but the problem remains where best to play him without disrupting the harmony of the rest of the team.
Chelsea fans, what do you think ?
image: © Audrey Pilato