Chelsea’s pursuit of Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has been one of the top three transfer sagas of the summer. Jose Mourinho made it clear throughout the Blues’ preseason tour that Rooney was their only target of the summer, and the club submitted bids of £25 and £30 million, which were both swiftly rejected. David Moyes held firm on his stance that the striker was not for sale and included him in the starting lineup to face Chelsea at Old Trafford.
By contrast, Mourinho started with four false nines, seemingly to show Rooney that he would be first-choice at Stamford Bridge.
This plan backfired into a 0-0 draw, and the reception that Rooney received from the United fans compelled him to thank them via Facebook. It seemed that the saga was over for the summer, leaving Chelsea to turn their attentions to Russia, signing Samuel Eto’o on a free transfer from Anzhi Makhachkala.
Eto’o’s one-year deal is reported to be worth £7 million, and there can be no doubting the experience that he will bring to the squad. However, at 32 years old and having spent two years in Russia, there are concerns that Chelsea may not be getting the same player who won the treble with Jose Mourinho at Inter Milan.
Victor Moses spent much of his time at Wigan Athletic playing as a centre-forward, but will spend the season on loan at Liverpool in a bizarre deadline day twist. Fernando Torres’ long-running problems have been well documented, and although he will have been bolstered by his superb finish in the Super Cup, there is no guarantee of consistency from him. Demba Ba started the Premier League fixture against Aston Villa and was caught offside time and again, much to the frustration of his team-mates.
Romelu Lukaku remains Chelsea’s best option up front, but has so far been reduced to substitute appearances. His penalty miss in the Super Cup shootout seemed to hit him hard, and at 20 years old, he still has a lot of learning to do before he can take on the lone striker role in all competitions.
This has led Chelsea into something of a deadline day conundrum. Mourinho may have said that their transfer business was over on August 31, but he also told ITV earlier in the summer that “managers always lie.”
The Blues could certainly do with a world-class, under-30 striker, with Ba or Torres likely making way.
At the time of this writing, there are eight hours left for potential deals to be completed. If Mourinho was fibbing about Chelsea’s business being concluded for this window, he will need to act quickly.
Panic-buying very rarely ends well, but it seems, per The Metro, that Zenit St Petersburg have quoted £10 million for Tottenham to take Hulk on a season long loan. If Chelsea can again gazump their rivals as they did with the Willian deal, and Arsenal are indeed interested in taking Ba on loan as Luke Edwards of The Telegraph suggests, all is not lost for Chelsea.
However, it looks increasingly likely that their single-minded pursuit of Rooney will leave them without the 20-goals-a-season striker that they need to become utterly unstoppable.