Would Wayne Rooney to Chelsea Indicate a London Premier League Revolution?
The past couple of seasons have seen Manchester United and their neighbors City complete the Premier League's top two, but this year promises to be an altogether different affair. London's clubs are back on the up and ready to challenge their brief period of domination.
With Jose Mourinho back at the helm, Chelsea are leading the way in the capital's resurgence. Following close behind are Tottenham Hotspur and—despite their defeat to Aston Villa on the opening day of the season—Arsenal.
Questioning whether or not Manchester United are severely weakened without Sir Alex Ferguson in the dugout has been one of the talking points all summer.
They did get off to the best possible start in their first campaign without him in 27 years last weekend with a 4-1 victory over Swansea City. But question marks still remain over their ability to dominate the Premier League with David Moyes at the helm.
While these questions are asked, United have not made any significant additions to strengthen their ranks in the summer. Arsenal continue to be linked with a host of big names, including Real Madrid pair Angel Di Maria and Karim Benzema according to David Ornstein of BBC Sport.
Chelsea and Spurs have been busy building themselves—and building big.
Andre Villas-Boas is assembling a squad to envy at White Hart Lane. The will-he-won't-he saga surrounding Gareth Bale's protracted move to Real Madrid hasn't impacted the club's preparations in the slightest, with the likes of Roberto Soldado, Paulinho and Etienne Capoue all arriving for big money.
Across London, Chelsea have aimed their sights even higher. Marco van Ginkel and Andre Schurrle are their two biggest signings to date, but they have Rooney in their sights and do not appear willing to give up on the Englishman just yet.
According to a host of media outlets, including Mark Ogden of the Telegraph, Chelsea will be placing their third bid of the summer for Rooney within the next few days. Can United hack it?
We're going to find out soon enough, and if Mourinho does get his way, it will represent a considerable power shift from the North West to London.
Last summer was about Robin van Persie ditching Arsenal for his move to Old Trafford, but Rooney joining Chelsea has the potential to send bigger shockwaves.
The United No. 10 is the biggest—and most famous—player in English football. He's one of United's prize assets, in his prime and with potentially his best years ahead of him.
Unlike van Persie, Rooney has two years left on his contract, so arguably his club has more bargaining power than Arsenal, who were faced with the prospect of losing van Persie for nothing this summer had they not sold.
We've never seen United selling players of Rooney's ilk to one of their closest rivals. If they start now, what has been just a hint of weakness since Ferguson's departure will become very much a reality.
Are London clubs taking over the Premier League?
Chelsea could arguably be seen as the bigger club. Not in fanbase or silverware, but as the team with bigger appeal for players and more importantly, the one with the bigger aspirations.
Arsenal and Spurs have similar ambitions to their London rivals. With United losing key players while those around them strengthen, Manchester City could quickly become isolated in flying Manchester's flag.
The Clash sang of London calling. It is in the Premier League right now.
Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @garryhayes
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