Manchester United legend and star striker Wayne Rooney's future with the club is up in the air. He's fallen out of favor with exiting manager Sir Alex Ferguson, and rumours abroad have him as a prime candidate to move to another Premier League club—or a league in another country entirely—next season.
One of those such clubs is Chelsea, who are doing everything they can to make sure that Rooney will be wearing the Blues' uniform with the Samsung lettering across his chest when the 2013-14 season begins.
According to a report from Matt Law of the Daily Mirror, Chelsea boss Roman Abramovich is prepared to pay £30 million in a transfer fee for the 27-year-old forward, and is even willing to give him a weekly salary of £250,000 to ensure United don't sell him to another club.
The report also claims Chelsea are not buying United's firm stance (so far) that selling Rooney is not on the table.
Here's an excerpt from the piece:
A source told Sunday Mirror Sport: “Chelsea want to make sure that if Wayne leaves United, there is only one place he will go...They are prepared to spend, big, big money on Rooney and they have told United that....Mourinho would love to manage Rooney. He thinks he can get him back to his best and use him in a similar way to how Didier Drogba operated for Chelsea.”
Mourinho, of course, is Real Madrid manager Jose, who is nearing a return to the Blues, if you listen to media sources worldwide. Marca.com reported on Sunday that Mourinho has told his inner circle of his intentions to leave Madrid and take over for interim manager Rafa Benitez, and a move to get Mourinho could coincide with a move to get Rooney.
Abramovich has made it clear that he's willing to give Rooney the same treatment that United did during the first part of their marriage if he came to Stamford Bridge, giving him the reins to an already potent lineup that includes Frank Lampard, Eden Hazard and Demba Ba and is fresh off the Europa League title.
Adding Rooney to that list, with "The Special One" back in the fold too, would make for an interesting season of expectations and performances at Stamford Bridge next year.
There's no guarantee that Rooney goes anywhere, or that United is willing to sell off a vital part of the winning ways at Old Trafford. Rooney's current contract runs through the end of 2015, but another snag in a potential stay is a report from The Daily Mail that claims Rooney is looking for a new deal.
If United are looking to sell, however, Chelsea will be the first team knocking down the door.
Which club do you think Rooney will end up with?
Rooney had 22 goals in 37 appearances across the different soccer spectrums this year, including 12 in 22 games with the club in EPL play. He's considered a valuable player just hitting the "mature" part of his career, but there are some (including Pete Hall of TEAMtalk.com) who feel the stats side with United letting him go while interest is high.
Chelsea have vowed to be active and ready to open up their pocketbooks this summer to chase a league title and other international awards next season, and that could start with breaking the bank for Rooney to arrive at Stamford Bridge.
One thing is for sure: New manager David Moyes' end-of-the-year meeting with Rooney later this week should tell us everything we need to know about his future at Old Trafford.
After that, the speculation can really begin.