Chelsea Transfer Rumours: Blues Must Quickly Submit Third Wayne Rooney Bid

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistAugust 6, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 17:   Wayne Rooney of Manchester United walks off the pitch after being substituted during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Manchester United at the Boleyn Ground on April 17, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Chelsea's pursuit of Wayne Rooney has reached the "now or never" stage.

As reported by Jack De Menezes of The Independent, Manchester United recently rejected Jose Mourinho's second bid for the striker. ESPN noted the Chelsea manager is relaxed about the entire situation, analysis seemingly confirmed by his willingness to wait two weeks before submitting a second bid.

If Mourinho wants to get his man, he must up the ante. Rooney's Manchester United future continues to be in doubt after odd occurrences have kept him away from the team's preseason schedule.

Jeremy Wilson of the Telegraph reports Rooney pulled out of United's friendly match with AIK Fotboll due to a non-serious shoulder injury, although the circumstances appear highly suspicious:

Rooney failed to travel with the United squad to Sweden for tonight’s pre-season friendly against Stockholm and, although he has suffered a genuine shoulder “knock”, the injury is not particularly severe.

His omission from the match ­follows fresh talks with Moyes, his manager, over recent days in which Rooney made it clear that he was disillusioned and felt that, after nine years and 197 goals, he had reached the end of the road at United.

Such happenings add fuel to a white-hot fire, ensuring huge speculation continues to circle the player's every move.

Ian Herbert of The Independent suggests Rooney's prolonged absence is having an adverse effect on the Old Trafford dressing room, with senior players finally airing their anger towards his summer saga:

An impression is also being given that Rooney’s relationship with some of the senior players in the United dressing room – (Rio) Ferdinand, Ryan Giggs and Patrice Evra – is becoming strained, amid those players’ concerns that their pleas with him to stay at United have been ignored.

The sense of a dressing-room rift serves Rooney well in his attempts to prove that his position at the club is untenable. He can shape his own position as one in which he has fans and team-mates against him, with Ferguson, now an ogre in the player’s mind, as a spectre in the background. All good grounds to leave.

With Rooney itching to throw away his red shirt, Chelsea must act quickly to secure his services. Bridges appear to be burning rapidly, and a bid upwards of £30 million will tempt Manchester United to finally offload a player who has suffered under the weight of becoming the Premier League champions' second-most-important forward behind Robin van Persie.

Mourinho's decision to slowly follow up his first bid appears to have given Chelsea control of the situation. The Portuguese manager's lack of haste effectively tells David Moyes he is ready to rid United of their pest but isn't too bothered if the London club miss out. Such a positioning of power continues to put pressure on the champions, who have so far failed to land any major transfer targets this summer.

Chelsea's attempts continue to poke and prod in a playful manner. Like a child nagging its parents into submission for a brand new toy, Mourinho cleverly maintains his interest without going overboard. Rooney is forced to consider life at Chelsea, a situation that continues to put distance between himself and his current club.

A third bid will make all of the difference. This summer's transfer prices have seen players such as Gonzalo Higuain and Roberto Soldado move for around the £30 million mark, so Mourinho knows he won't get Rooney on the cheap. Even so, his prolonged effort has had an insidious effect on Manchester United's preseason, forcing the Reds into continued engagement with a saga that threatens to overrule David Moyes' debut campaign.

Mourinho has unleashed nothing more than a jab so far. If he follows Chelsea's second rejected bid with a weighty hook, Stamford Bridge is likely to be welcoming a new hero come August 18.