On one hand, David Moyes remains adamant that the Manchester United forward is not for sale. Rooney worked with Moyes during his days as an Everton starlet, but the pair have since fallen out regarding claims made in Rooney’s 2007 autobiography, My Story So Far.
Evidently, it seems Jose Mourinho is keen to make use of that potentially problematic relationship and has outlined Rooney as his one sole transfer target, per the Daily Mail’s Matt McGeehan.
The same report discusses Chelsea’s opening bid for the Merseysider’s services, which was rejected out of hand last week.
Since then, there’s been no further talk of a return bid, but the way Mourinho goes about his business in the media is telling. Things will certainly progress in that vein.
McGeehan’s story quotes Mourinho as saying:
At this moment we have made what you know; that bid which was public and official and after that nothing else. But we are calm as we told you that we are calm because we are happy with what we have.
In terms of the power placement in this saga, Mourinho has everything running in his favour.
For starters, he’s already made big transfer moves this summer, whereas Moyes has made none. Mourinho is seen as the prodigal son returning to Stamford Bridge by many, whereas Moyes is seen as somewhat of an uncertain quantity as the Red Devils boss with pressure piled on his shoulders.
And finally, Moyes may be the one struggling to answer questions in the press regarding Rooney’s short-term future, but Mourinho is simply on the lookout for another gem to add to his already bejeweled collection.
The result? A win-win scenario for the Blues boss. If his side does obtain Rooney’s services, it’s just another boon to his squad. If they don’t, Chelsea still have a roster capable of challenging for titles.
While Rooney may be what Mourinho wants, Graham Ruthven was quick to point out on Twitter that the Red Devils asset isn't all the club needs this summer:
No stranger to the way things work in the world of managerial mind games, it hasn’t taken Mourinho long to assume a controlling disposition back in his old Premier League stomping grounds, and the season hasn’t even begun yet.
By speaking highly of Rooney in public and identifying the striker as his only want this summer, the player feels admired, sought after and, most importantly, valued. That's something he can’t say he is at the Theatre of Dreams following Moyes’ claims that he’s the backup to Robin van Persie, per ESPN’s Richard Jolly.
While “talks” may not have officially begun as of yet, Jose Mourinho is already making all the right moves in his pursuit of Wayne Rooney, and there’s a long month ahead before Moyes can say the player is still his for the 2013-14 campaign.