With four EPL titles to its credit, Chelsea is unquestionably one of the most storied clubs in all of soccer. If it is going to add a fifth title to the trophy case, though, a big move is needed. That move should come in the form of acquiring star striker Wayne Rooney from rival Manchester United.
According to Martin Lipton of Mirror Football, Chelsea is confident that it will be able to land Rooney despite the fact that the Red Devils have said on many occasions that Rooney isn't for sale. With Manchester United potentially closing in on FC Barcelona's Cesc Fabregas, though, Rooney could be expendable.
Chelsea's most recent bid was set at £24 million, but the Telegraph is reporting that the Blues are prepared to go as high as £40 million in order to secure the former FWA Footballer of the Year:
It can certainly be debated whether or not Rooney is worth £40 million, but making a move like that would prove that Chelsea means business. The Blues had a strong 2012-13 season as they finished third in the EPL behind Manchester United and Manchester City and earned a spot in the UEFA Champions League.
Chelsea finished well behind the Red Devils, though, so ground needs to be made up during the offseason. The Blues already have a solid foundation in place as Petr Cech continues to hold down the fort in goal, and the likes of Eden Hazard and Juan Mata provide Chelsea with a dangerous attack.
Creativity isn't a question when it comes to the Blues, but they could use some finishing touch up top as the likes of Demba Ba and Romelu Lukaku can be inconsistent in that area. Rooney had a tough 2012-13 season, but he has been a high-volume scorer in the past, and he has the skill set necessary to revitalize his game at Stamford Bridge.
Rooney struggled to earn playing time this past season as former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson had to find ways to get Robin van Persie and Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez on the pitch. Even so, Rooney managed 16 goals and was a constant threat when he did play.
The Liverpool native is just two years removed from a 34-goal season. In fact, he has two 34-goal campaigns to his credit over the past four seasons, so Rooney obviously has a nose for the net. New Manchester United manager David Moyes would probably love the opportunity to work Rooney into the rotation, but there is so much forward talent on the team that selling Rooney would likely be best for all involved.
Selling him to Chelsea probably wouldn't be ideal from the Red Devils' perspective since the Blues are among their toughest rivals already, but Rooney will have plenty of say in the matter. It's hard to imagine him agreeing to a transfer out of the EPL, and he certainly will want to play for a contender, so Chelsea may be the only option.
With that in mind, Chelsea has to be careful not to overplay its hand. While the Blues will have to pay through the nose in order to acquire Rooney, it should be smart in the way it approaches the situation. Chelsea has played it cool to this point, but it's important that it doesn't over-commit.
The Blues appear to be in the driver's seat right now as Manchester United is running out of options. If Chelsea is able to get its hands on Rooney, it will arguably have the best attack in the entire EPL. Combining that with the continued development of some of Chelsea's young stars makes it apparent that the Blues may be one player away from reaching the pinnacle of the league.
Based on Chelsea's current needs, Rooney appears to be that one player.
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter