Wayne Rooney Can Be Jose Mourinho's Missing Link at Chelsea

Glenn HoddleFeatured ColumnistJanuary 23, 2014


It appears Juan Mata is heading for Manchester United, but that may not be the only piece of business done between the two clubs this year, as I think Wayne Rooney is bound for Stamford Bridge.

Rooney can be Chelsea’s missing link, the goal poacher Jose Mourinho simply hasn’t got despite three big-name centre-forwards at the club.

There has been talk of Rooney going to Real Madrid in the summer, but I don’t see that. He may just be destined for West London.

He nearly went last summer, and I can see it happening for next season.

Mourinho clearly sees Rooney as the player to help complete his team-rebuilding process.

The Chelsea manager made a big effort to sign him last year, and Rooney was close to joining.

He was persuaded to stay at Manchester United, but it has not worked out as he and the club had hoped. It’s so bad at Old Trafford that they may not even end up securing a place in the Europa League, let alone the Champions League.

I had my fears before a ball was kicked at the start of the season that United would struggle to make the top four, let alone defend their title having failed to land some of the top targets in last summer's transfer window.

I just cannot see Rooney staying at United, and I think he would be perfect for Chelsea.

Chelsea need a finisher, they need someone to play right up top. They have three strikers in Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto’o and Demba Ba but they just haven’t been scoring enough.

HULL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26:  James Chester of Hull scores an own goal in front of Wayne Rooney of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Hull City and Manchester United at KC Stadium on December 26, 2013 in Hull, England.  (Ph
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

A goalscorer is Mourinho’s priority, and while Rooney plays deep at United, I can see that Mourinho fancies he can get the best out of him by reminding him that he was once a prolific goalscorer.

Putting him back in that attacking role can make him that prolific 30-goal-a-season player once again, especially with creative talents like Oscar and Eden Hazard in support.

Chelsea need a real poacher and Rooney has that capability. Romelu Lukaku could return from his loan at Everton but he is not that type of player. Lukaku could have a role to play, but Rooney can be that poacher Mourinho is in desperate need of.

The situation puts United in an awkward position right now as they need Mata right away and Chelsea hold all the aces, so it won’t be a surprise to me if a deal involving Rooney for next season is part of Mata’s move to Old Trafford.

Swap deals do not often happen given the sheer amount of factors involved, but Chelsea could secure first refusal on Rooney if he is made available for transfer.

David Moyes won’t countenance selling him to Chelsea in mid-season, but might have no choice in the summer. Rooney’s contract is in the final 18 months and if he refuses to agree a fresh deal, United may have no choice but to sell.

Juan Mata
Juan MataScott Heavey/Getty Images

I have been saying for some time now that I thought Mata would be the answer to United’s problems.

It has always been a mystery to me why he hasn’t fitted in following Jose Mourinho's arrival at the club, but without being in the team it was only a matter of time before a move was on the cards.

With United thin on the ground in the creative department in midfield, it is a sensible move especially as Mata is accustomed to the Premier League and would fit in immediately.

Of course, to my mind Mata is sure to be linked with a deal to Rooney. If Mata goes now to Old Trafford I can see Rooney ending up at the Bridge in the summer, which would be a convenient arrangement for both clubs.