Wayne Rooney’s best chance of rediscovering his form of old is to leave Manchester United for Chelsea, a move that is a giant step closer this week, according to Neil Ashton and Chris Wheeler of the Mail Online.
UPDATE: Monday, August 5, at 10:20 a.m. BST/5:20 a.m. EDT by Ben Blackmore
Sky Sports News offers the latest on the money being offered by Chelsea:
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Ashton and Wheeler report that Rooney is ready to hand in a transfer request after Chelsea’s second bid of £25 million was rejected.
The Telegraph's Steve Brenner and Jeremy Wilson also suggest that Rooney is "angry with United’s stance" and that the forward is planning to force a move to the Blues.
The striker, who once intimidated and terrorised defences, is in danger of losing his world-class tag unless he reignites his career soon.
It’s time for Rooney to move on. His transfer could even prove beneficial for both United and Chelsea if the fee allows the Manchester club to pursue a big-name signing, perhaps Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Premier League title race is shaping up to be the closest in years, and Rooney’s signature would give Jose Mourinho’s men the perfect platform to wrestle the trophy out of Manchester and back to the capital.
The prospect of creative trio Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar interlinking with Rooney is a frightening one for the rest of Europe, and that attack would make Stamford Bridge a daunting destination for any opponent.
Mourinho will be keen to add Rooney to his squad quickly with last year’s strike duo, Fernando Torres and Demba Ba, incapable of finding the net on a consistent basis during the 2012-13 campaign.
What Rooney’s signing would mean for Romelu Lukaku, though, remains unclear. The Belgian forward was prolific for West Brom last season on loan and looked set to star for Chelsea, but that now appears unlikely.
The versatility of Rooney would allow him to play as one of the attacking midfield three or as a lone front man, but his arrival would almost certainly leave one of Torres, Ba or Lukaku destined for a season racking up FA and League Cup appearances.
In a World Cup year, it’s also vital that England have their talismanic striker in top form, and at United, that is far from guaranteed.
Take Rooney out the equation, and the Three Lions have an international strike force barely capable of firing them out of the group stage in Brazil.
For his own sake, and that of his country, Rooney has to force a move to Chelsea.