Heading into the 2013 summer transfer window, Chelsea were unquestionably one of the most intriguing teams to watch. Their chase and subsequent landing of Jose Mourinho brought forth expectations of high spending, ostensibly on players who could push the Blues to a Premier League or Champions League title.
While Chelsea have dabbled and landed a few notable stars thus far, they are still at least one move away from being totally happy with their haul. The window has moved more slowly than in recent years, as clubs have held on to the biggest available names in hopes of bringing forth a massive bidding war. And in most cases, that strategy has worked.
But now, as August approaches and season openers stand just on the horizon, you're bound to see more movement. Teams from both sides of the spectrum (buying and selling) are both bound for increased desperation with every ticking of the calendar, which should lead to more news rather than speculation going forward.
Such has been the case for Chelsea. Their rumor mill is still piping hot with a couple names, but players and Mourinho have been more open about where their true targets lie. And, of course, we all know to whom I am referring at this point.
With that in mind, let's take a look around Stamford Bridge and give you the latest updates on what folks are saying about this summer's impending movement.
Ashley Cole Says Rooney Should Push to Play for Mourinho
By now, everyone is rather familiar with the song and dance going on with Wayne Rooney and Manchester United. The superstar striker, pushed to second in command by fellow star Robin van Persie, has gone through a tenuous relationship with his current club—one that could break at any moment.
The now-retired Sir Alex Ferguson first admitted that Rooney, frustrated with his role, asked for a transfer all the way back in May. There was some he said, he said going on in the aftermath of the situation, but the relationship between Ferguson and Rooney didn't need healing. The manager was being replaced by David Moyes, and it was thought perhaps that would help smooth things over a bit.
Of course, we now know that's not the case. Rooney has gone through a summer of transfer rumors, innuendo and the like. Chelsea have been the most speculated destination by far, with the club seemingly the most natural of fits. Mourinho has even admitted the club put in a bid for Rooney and has called him the club's only transfer target, but United rejected the price.
Moyes has continually denied Rooney is available. That said, the United manager's assertion Rooney might not be a first-team choice has only stoked the fire, again creating rampant speculation that he's played his last game in a Red Devils uniform.
There's at least one person who has publicly campaigned for Rooney—his national teammate and current Chelsea star, Ashley Cole. The 32-year-old defender complimented Mourinho's leadership ability, saying he'd try forcing his hand to Stamford Bridge if it meant playing for the legendary Portuguese manager.
"For me, if there’s a player he [Mourinho] wants to come to Chelsea, it would be one thought in my mind: to come here and to be under a great manager. It’s a pleasure to play under him," Cole said, per Sam Wallace of The Independent. "I jumped at the chance."
Chelsea may still be working to make Cole's (and possibly Rooney's) wish come true. Jason Burt and Mark Ogden of The Telegraph have reported the club is planning a £40 million bid, marking a massive increase from their £25 million first offer.
Despite the pronouncements that Rooney isn't for sale, one has a hard time seeing Moyes turn down that much money for his disgruntled star.
Chelsea Reject Liverpool Request for Ryan Bertrand
Speaking of Chelsea defenders, Cole might want to watch his back this year in training. Ryan Bertrand, the 23-year-old English national, has become one of the more interesting names in Chelsea's stable of burgeoning talent.
After barely registering on the club's radar his first two senior club seasons with Chelsea—he spent multiple periods on loan with the likes of Norwich City and Reading—Bertrand had a breakout 2012-13 season. He made 19 appearances (14 starts) during Premier League play last year, proving again he's one of the finest youth projects Chelsea have had in a great while.
But with Mourinho pushing for a win-now philosophy and Cole still at the top of his mark, many saw this summer as a potential pouncing opportunity. Included in those clubs were Liverpool. Brendan Rodgers' side made an inquiry about adding Bertrand to its defense, hoping that Bertrand would be frustrated with his situation just enough to make it happen.
According to The Guardian's Dominic Fifield, Chelsea had just one word for Rodgers: nope. They rejected the request from Liverpool, refusing to even enter negotiations. What's more, Bertrand seems keen on staying at Stamford Bridge and challenging Cole for top billing in the starting 11.
"I see my future being Chelsea's number one (left-back)," Bertrand said, per Dan Silver of the Mirror. "I don't concentrate on trying to dislodge him (Cole). I just focus on myself and my game and I'm sure that time will come."
Cole is only signed to a one-year deal, so perhaps Mourinho calmed the situation down by laying out a concrete succession plan. But Cole, one of the greatest defenders of his generation, has been saying all the right things about his new manager in the press and seems committed to bringing a Premier League title back to Stamford Bridge.
There are ways to make this an amenable situation for all involved going forward, but Mourinho will need creativity. Bertrand will expect similar playing time (if not more) to what he had last season, as will Cole. If Mourinho is worth the ballyhoo that came with his hiring, he'll figure this out—and it will be the best for the club.
Mourinho Wants Signings Now, Not Later
If we're being honest, this summer's transfer window has been benign. There has been plenty of smoke, rarely any fire—especially in the Premier League. Most of the world's biggest moves have come outside (arguably) the world's greatest soccer association, with PSG's addition of Edinson Cavani last week being the latest example.
Manchester City have been doing their usual summer spending spree, but Chelsea are the only other aggressors thus far. They landed Andre Schurrle from Bayer Leverkusen in one of the summer's earliest splashes and pushed forth on the vastly underrated Marco van Ginkel signing.
A potential Rooney pact would give Chelsea one of their better summers in recent memory on paper. They would have filled plenty of holes while also not taking themselves out of contention for a midseason splash.
And that's exactly the way Mourinho likes it. The Chelsea manager spoke Tuesday about the summer transfer period, which lasts until Sept. 2, and noted his desire to get things done early in order to know his roster composition going into the season.
It depends on the philosophy of each one but, as a manager, the sooner you have the players the better. You know the squad you have, you know what you have to work with, you have time to do that. But yes he [Moyes] is right. The market is open until 2 September and many clubs are waiting to the last moment to make their decisions, and those decisions affect a number of other clubs. The one who sells has to go and buy, then they have to buy to replace, so no club is safe.
This overarching stance provides perspective for how Mourinho views his club. Whether you agree with Mourinho's point is irrelevant. Mourinho valuing chemistry and time with his players over the better values that can be found late in the transfer period has made him a success throughout his career, and also speaks well to his faith in his new club.
Mourinho would obviously take Rooney at any point from now until September. Rooney could show up on his doorstep with eight seconds to go in the transfer window, hair plugs all soaked and wet like when Topanga runs away from home in Boy Meets World, and Mourinho would welcome him with open arms.
Still, this freedom in getting his dirty work done early allows for that singular focus.
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