As the summer goes on and Chelsea make its final preparations for the start of the English Premier League season, there is still one name being linked to the Blues on a daily basis: Wayne Rooney.
The 27-year-old England international, who is still recovering from a hamstring injury suffered earlier this offseason, has been widely speculated as the Blues' top target this transfer window. According to BBC, Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has even declared this summer as "Rooney or bust" for the West London club.
However, according to ESPN, Chelsea are prepared to hold off that bid until after Rooney plays in Rio Ferdinand's testimonial match at Old Trafford next week.
Although Chelsea, its fans and Mourinho may want to see this situation resolved sooner rather than later, it is a very smart tactic for Chelsea to delay the new and improved bid for the Manchester United man.
First, let's get to the offer itself.
Despite new United boss David Moyes stating throughout the summer that Rooney will not be for sale, it would be hard for the former Everton manager to decline a £40 million bid for an unhappy player. Although Rooney has played for Moyes earlier in his career at Goodison Park, it is clear that Rooney is unhappy at Old Trafford. Parting with Rooney might serve in both Rooney's and the club's best interest.
After all, Moyes even made a bold claim earlier this offseason regarding his former player. According to ESPN FC, the new manager has said that Rooney will only play second fiddle to first-choice striker Robin van Persie:
Wayne can play up on his own, he can play dropped in. Overall my thought on Wayne is, if for any reason we had an injury to Robin van Persie, we'll need him.
However, while the bid itself may be enough to convince Moyes to let the striker go, the timing of the bid may prove to be even more important.
According to The Times, Chelsea and Mourinho will hope that a hostile reception at Old Trafford will be enough to drive Rooney away from Manchester and into London.
It must be said that this is brilliant planning by the Londoners.
The last thing Rooney, and Moyes for that matter, will want to happen is for the Manchester United faithful to turn their back on one of their own players. That's most likely going to happen. During the final home game of last season, Rooney was the subject to many jeers from some parts of the Old Trafford crowd when rumors began to swirl that the forward was unhappy at the club.
And after a summer of speculation and injuries, it is likely that Rooney will face the same type of reception this time around.
If this were to happen, it may be just the final nail in the coffin of Rooney's time in Manchester. Both Rooney and Chelsea would be able to use the argument that the striker is being forced out of the club, leaving United with the only choice to negotiate with the Blues.
Whether Rooney will be verbally taunted or not when he returns to Old Trafford on August 9 remains to be seen. After all, the United fans could surprise many, including Rooney himself, and show their support for a striker that has been a "Red" through and through since 2004.
However, if all goes expected, and Rooney has to face a hostile reaction at his home stadium next week, then don't be surprised to see Manchester United start to at least listen to offers from Chelsea.
And if that were to happen, then it may just be a matter of time before fans see Rooney playing his regular football at Stamford Bridge.
What are your thoughts? Should United listen to the offers from Chelsea, and do you think Rooney will eventually be with the Blues? Give your opinions and predictions on the matter in the comment thread below!