Wayne Rooney has been walking on eggshells with United fans, and Chelsea will now look to capitalize on that.
Chelsea manager José Mourinho has certainly had his share of spotlight and criticism for unorthodox tactics during his time as a manager for various clubs in world football. You can add this latest stunt to that list.
Matt Hughes of the London Times reported yesterday that Mourinho has formulated a new plan in Chelsea's second attempt at the coveted Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney. Rather than engaging in a Monopoly-style auction, his latest plan involves using negative fan sentiment against Rooney.
Old Trafford will host the Rio Ferdinand testimonial match on 9 August against Sevilla, and Mourinho believes the United fans are unhappy with the transfer speculation surrounding Rooney. If fans don't rattle the striker at that game, United's lone home match before the end of the transfer window is against Chelsea. Should Rooney have a poor performance in that contest, fans may become restless.
Sounds like a bit of a speculative gamble.
But could Mourinho have a point? Have United fans already sold on Rooney as a whole, or will this move cause an uprising of Rooney support from United fans?
Rooney was booed in the final contest of last season against Swansea after he made it clear to outgoing manager Sir Alex Ferguson he wanted out, submitting a transfer request.
Will United fans come out in support of Wayne Rooney to cause backlash on Jose Mourinho's plan?
ESPN UK reports that Chelsea may be willing to take the bid for Rooney as high as £30 million (just over $46 million US). Their previous rejected bid was £20 million.
In the end, it will come down to the United fans. If they believe Rooney's best years are behind him and are fed up with his lackluster commitment to the club, they can send him a message and help the club become several million pounds richer. But if they believe in him and want to cause a backlash on Mourinho's transfer plan, that opportunity is there as well.
Either way, Mourinho will either look like a genius or a fool; there will hardly be any in-between.
The only thing that's certain is that this Rio Ferdinand testimonial game—one that will be available in as many as 170 countries—could be the biggest testimonial contest ever. It's now a game of cat-and-mouse that will likely go right down to the end of the transfer window.