The Wayne Rooney to Chelsea transfer saga is coming to a conclusion, with a decision one way or the other to be made over the next 48 hours. All summer long the England international has been linked with a switch to Stamford Bridge, with the player reportedly unsettled with the Premier League champions.
However, with United rejecting two Blues bids for the striker, David Moyes selecting him to start against the London club on Monday night and the fans’ backing of Rooney, it is clear that the Old Trafford club do not want to sell their star.
After the tame 0-0 draw on Monday night, Jose Mourinho has stated that the situation needs to be cleared up in the next two days and that Rooney needs to go public with his preferences of where he wants to play his football.
“The person that started the story has to finish the story," the Blues boss said. "A club like us, a manager like me, the people that work in the club with me… we are not silly to try to get a player from a big club that doesn't sell what they don't want to sell.
"We are not silly to try something if somebody didn't start it. So I think it is time for the good of everyone to finish the story. For one side, for the other side."
When asked specifically whether he wanted Rooney to go public, Mourinho confirmed that the player needs to make a decision.
"Yes, I would like. We are going to close another player if he is not coming,” Mourinho continued.
"It depends on this [Rooney's decision]. It depends on his reaction and his feelings. If now he doesn't want to leave, we are out of the thing. But we need to know. We need to know what is happening.
“I think probably now, he decides that he wants to stay. If he makes that decision, we will be the first to respect that."
With Rooney’s solid performance in the game against Chelsea and the backing of both Moyes and the club’s fans, it seems unlikely that the player will request a transfer now – but the decision is up to him.
It is being widely speculated that the other player that Mourinho speaks of is Samuel Eto’o, who is available for transfer from Anzhi Makhachkala. Mourinho worked with the Cameroon international at Inter Milan and may well opt to bring the African to Stamford Bridge on a short-term contract if the pursuit of Rooney proves fruitless.
One thing was clear from Monday’s game – Chelsea need to play an out-and-out striker. Andre Schurrle was used as the furthest man forward, and although the German tried hard it was evident that he would be more comfortable and effective as one of the three attacking midfielders.
It is not the first time that Rooney’s future at Manchester United has been up in the air, but now the ball is well and truly in his court. If he really does want to leave Old Trafford he needs to come out and say it – but the likelihood is that this transfer saga will end with the England forward donning the red of the Premier League champions for another season at least.
image: © nasmac