Jose Mourinho's transfer window strategy to this point has been simple—Wayne Rooney or bust.
It's far too late in the game to abandon that strategy now.
Mourinho made headlines for his transfer activity on Tuesday, claiming that the Stamford Bridge outfit has "plans B and C" in the event that the Blues cannot convince Manchester United to part ways with the English striker before the Sept. 2 deadline.
As reported by BBC Sport, "The Special One" remains adamant that Chelsea are looking to add one more striker before the window closes. If Rooney is not that striker, Mourinho apparently has other names in his head who will try to help the Blues return to the top of the Premier League table.
If the Red Devils maintain their firm "no-sell" stance with respect to Rooney's availability, there's a good chance Mourinho will have to put his contingency plans into motion to avoid feeling like his two-month pursuit of the 27-year-old was a complete waste of time.
That being said, Mourinho must continue to pursue Rooney until a transfer is officially out of the question.
While it's important for Chelsea to search other avenues of improvement—especially with Manchester United rejecting every advancement so far—it's also important that the Blues continue to monitor the Rooney/David Moyes/Old Trafford situation until the deadline.
After all, it would be hard to bet against the Blues this year if Rooney were a regular in Mourinho's starting lineup.
Chelsea have been active during the current transfer window, spending nearly £20 million (subscription required) to bring Andre Schurrle to Stamford Bridge alongside fellow transfers Marco van Ginkel, Mark Schwarzer and Cristian Cuevas.
With veterans Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and John Terry all expected to play a central role and youngsters Victor Moses, Oscar, Eden Hazard and David Luiz all poised to come into their own under Mourinho's tutelage, the Blues are extremely close (on paper) to having a championship-caliber roster.
Rooney, who put together a season of double-digit goals and assists last year despite being in Sir Alex Ferguson's doghouse over the final month of the EPL season, is considered the kind of player who would thrive at Stamford Bridge.
Goal.com's Brendon Netto wondered earlier in the transfer window if Rooney was the missing piece to Mourinho's roster. It's a legitimate question—the creativity of Hazard, Juan Mata and others would allow Rooney to headline Chelsea's attack up front.
The dilemma for United is simple—already facing a situation where depth in the middle of the field is limited and unproven, selling a star to a rival club could turn into a nightmare rather quickly. Despite his discomfort with the Old Trafford outfit this summer, Rooney is still a valuable player.
Look no further than Rooney's role in helping Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck score second-half goals against Swansea City to confirm the idea that he still has plenty left in the tank.
It's clear that Manchester United and Chelsea are both keen on using the Englishman to help them win the Premier League trophy—that fact should add a level of intrigue when Mourinho and the Blues visit Old Trafford next Monday, regardless of the starting lineups or outcome.
It should not, however, change Mourinho's transfer strategy.
According to the Press Association (via The Guardian), the Blues will soon launch a third official bid for Rooney. Though their first two bids—and likely their third, too—have been in vain, Mourinho deserves credit for publicly sharing his strategy earlier this offseason and not deviating after earlier setbacks.
How likely is a Rooney transfer to Chelsea before Sept. 2?
Sept. 2 will be here before we know it. While Chelsea would be wise to seek other forms of improvement in the event that Rooney remains with United through that deadline, their No. 1 priority should continue to be finding the cash to lure the Red Devils out of their "no-sell" foxhole.
It's been Rooney or bust for the Blues for quite some time.
It needs to stay that way until the transfer deadline.
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