With only four matches standing between Chelsea and the start of the 2013-14 English Premier League season, we're approaching crucial moments with respect to the current transfer window.
If manager Jose Mourinho and the Blues are going to make a big move, they need to get the ball rolling. In the meantime, the club will have plenty to focus on in anticipation of the upcoming league campaign.
Chelsea will take on Inter Milan in their opening match of the 2013 International Champions Cup on Thursday, after which they will face either AC Milan or Valencia. Chelsea and the seven teams participating at the ICC will each play in three tournament matches.
Mourinho's men will then face AS Roma on Aug. 10 before returning to England.
In case you missed it, Chelsea's official Twitter account released the 25-man roster Mourinho will carry for their next four matches in America:
As the preseason part of Chelsea's schedule ends, so too will the club's pursuit of additional players in the transfer window.
The Blues have already upgraded their roster with the likes of Marco van Ginkel, Andre Schurrle and Cristian Cuevas, but the biggest Chelsea target (Wayne Rooney) is not yet packing for Stamford Bridge.
We'll cover Rooney and a host of other transfer rumors in our latest roundup of Blues chatter below.
Rooney and Manchester United appear to have reached an impasse.
According to this Twitter post from Goal.com, new manager David Moyes and the Red Devils are determined to keep the star striker at Old Trafford, while Rooney will continue to insist that his future lies with Mourinho at Stamford Bridge:
Rooney to push again for Manchester United exit in Moyes showdown talks http://t.co/EIDQjhHuCj— Goal.com (@goal_intl) July 30, 2013
Goal.com's Jonathan Birchall reported on Tuesday that Rooney has agreed to join Chelsea on a £200,000-a-week salary. He also notes that the player is scheduled to meet with his new boss for the first time in nearly a month this week.
Neil Custis of The Sun also filed a Tuesday report claiming that Rooney and Moyes will discuss the player's future with the club in the coming days. According to Custis, Rooney is concerned about losing playing time to Robin van Persie and Sir Alex Ferguson's ongoing role as a director with the club.
All those factors have to make Mourinho and Chelsea officials hopeful that United will back away from their firm "no-sell" stance before the transfer window ends.
Birchall's report confirms the idea that Chelsea will do whatever it takes to land Rooney in the event that his time with the Red Devils has indeed come to an end:
The new Chelsea boss has made clear to the Stamford Bridge hierarchy, including owner Roman Abramovich, that Rooney is his number-one target this summer. Behind the scenes, the self-proclaimed Special One is pulling out all the stops to bring the forward to west London.
All that said, United have been in no rush to sell the 27-year-old forward and might not ever reach that point without another substantial transfer joining Moyes' outfit.
Where will Rooney end up?
United have missed out on Thiago Alcantara, and their pursuit of Cesc Fabregas has yet to grow legs. From a pure depth perspective, it might not be wise to concede a Rooney exit before the upcoming EPL season begins.
Expect the Blues to pay close attention to the outcome of the upcoming Rooney-Moyes sit-down. Based on the results of that meeting, Chelsea could move quickly in lodging another bid to United for the striker's services.
If Chelsea's pursuit of Rooney ends up being for naught, Mourinho reportedly has a more-than-capable backup plan.
According to SportsDirectNews.com, Luis Suarez is being labeled as a plan B to Rooney if the Manchester United forward does not leave Old Trafford for Stamford Bridge. Per the report, Chelsea would have no reservations in matching Liverpool's £50 million evaluation of the Uruguayan's skill.
Arsenal and Chelsea appear to be in a two-horse race to sign the striker before the EPL season begins.
According to James Dickenson of the Express, the Gunners were preparing their third bid for Suarez on Tuesday. After bids of £30 million and £40 million and one pound, Arsenal are reportedly preparing another bid of £42.5 million.
The Reds have been adamant about avoiding a transfer for their top scorer, but Arsenal continue to knock on the door and lodged their second bid with an additional pound to try and trigger a release clause in Suarez's contract.
While the clause requires Liverpool to inform Suarez of Arsenal's (or any other club's) interest if they topple the £40 million threshold, the Reds do not interpret that clause as being forceful in granting him any and all transfer requests.
Andy Hunter of The Guardian reported on Tuesday that Suarez has not sought outside assistance on his contract dispute with the club, instead choosing to focus on his training and fitness in preparation for the season. Although it's clear he wants Champions League football next season, Suarez has not burned any bridges with the Reds.
Chelsea are secondary suitors for Suarez at this point; however, if the Rooney deal falls through and Liverpool continue to grow weary of Arsenal's insistence on a compromise, the Blues appear poised to force their way into the Suarez conversation.
Didier Drogba is an important part of Chelsea's history, and Mourinho wants him to be a part of Chelsea's future, too.
According to Goal.com's Gill Clark, Mourinho remains hopeful that Drogba will return to Stamford Bridge in some capacity one day:
Let him enjoy a good couple of years of football but, after that, he is loved in this club by everyone and that’s very, very normal. I think one day he will have a Chelsea future...Is it normal that Didier will be in the future connected with Chelsea again, I think yes. How? I don’t know.
Drogba currently plays for Turkish club Galatasaray, who made it to the quarterfinals of the Champions League last season.
Moving to La Liga, John Cross of the Daily Mirror reported on Monday that the Blues have interest in reuniting Sami Khedira with his former manager.
Khedira played for Mourinho at the Bernabeu and, according to Cross, was one of the few players who remained on good terms with "The Special One" in the midst of his transfer to Chelsea.
Real Madrid reportedly want £20 million for the 26-year-old. Chelsea are reportedly willing to pay the midfielder around £4 million if they can iron out a deal with Madrid.
At one point, it looked like David Luiz could be headed elsewhere. The defender was linked with a move to Bayern Munich and Pep Guardiola's squad, but on Tuesday, Guardiola ruled out a possible move for Luiz to join the Bundesliga side.
Per Goal.com's Shane Farrington, Guardiola told reporters that he was happy with his options on the defensive side of the field. "David Luiz won't come to Munich," Guardiola said on Tuesday as his side prepares for the Audi Cup.
While Luiz might not be leaving Stamford Bridge this season, another defender might be headed for the door. According to Football Italia on Twitter, Inter Milan are close to agreeing on a transfer for 19-year-old Wallace:
Inter are close to agreeing a deal with Chelsea for young defender Wallace, according to reports http://t.co/kO1E85zWyT— footballitalia (@footballitalia) July 30, 2013
ESPN's Ben Gladwell reported earlier in July that Chelsea were set to loan the teenager to Serie A so he could gain experience on the pitch next season.
While the Blues have been no stranger to adding (and losing) talent this offseason, they aren't done poking around on potential targets just yet.
With deep pockets and Champions League aspirations, we're going to have to keep a close eye on Chelsea until the transfer window closes.
Follow B/R's Ethan Grant (@DowntownEG) on Twitter.