Although it appears that the new incarnation of JM is slightly mellower, more laid back, and more diplomatic in his public comments than the JM we used to know, I can't help but get the impression that his past successes have somewhat compromised his risk-assessment capabilities. If we are making Rooney our primary target for the striker role in this transfer window, it could end up being a grievous error, and due consideration should be given to the reasons that such a transfer could spectacularly backfire:
- Finances: It appears that there are no suitors interested in El Burro's services. I'd estimate that the FFP hit (annually amortized) from acquiring Rooney would be comparable to the FFP hit we're forced to endure as a result of graciously accommodating Torres, and their cumulative FFP hit would be massive. This means that if Rooney doesn't work out, it's unlikely that we'll be able to bring in another top striker to steady the ship until Lukaku hits his prime. Can we afford to have two misfiring superstars on massive long-term contracts, with only Lukaku and Ba (assuming he's not shipped out soon) as our backup plan?
- Psychology: For most of Rooney's prime, Chelsea and Manu have been top dogs in England. He has learned to view Chelsea as his nemesis, and it will be hard to switch allegiances on demand. Just ask Torres (although I'm still not totally sure why Liverpool would consider us their rivals).
- Injuries: Rooney has gone on the record complaining that his legs ache every morning, and that it takes some time to get them functional after he has gotten out of bed. He has also missed large chunks of the last several seasons as a result of injuries. His injury record hasn't been as bad as that of Torres when we bought him, but worth noting nevertheless. Rooney is a player that has always relied on speed and a good engine; he hit his prime early. Such players tend to burn out early as well.
- Form: Rooney has spurts of brilliant form, but at least as many periods of indifferent form, and a team that plays with a lone striker needs somebody who is reliable and consistent.
- Loyalty/Mercenary tendencies/Motivation: It was fairly recently that Rooney has held his team over a barrel to extort a massive new contract. In that episode, he cited Manu's lack of ambition and other disingenuous reasons for supposedly wanting to leave. He was placated with a massive new contract.
His next contract is likely to be the last big one of EPL career, which means his motivation to earn the next big contract will be lacking.
- Team cohesion: Chelsea is moving towards a team-oriented approach, rather than being an assembly of personalities. Part of the advantage of bringing in players at an early point in their career (which has been Emenalo's strategy) is that they are malleable and adaptable, and that they can quickly learn to click with each other. Bringing in a superstar player who was raised in the culture of another team can disrupt that dynamic, not to mention cause bad vibes within the team.
- Style: Is Rooney really the type of striker that we need? He's not a classic center forward. We need a player who can be the tip of our 4-2-3-1 (look West, Lewandowski), and Rooney probably has more in common with our attacking mids (and we have plenty of those, thank you) than he does with a lone forward.
I think that this is a pretty convincing argument not to go for Rooney. There are other options out there, and if those options prove unfeasible, it's better to wait out the drought than to dig ourselves even deeper into the "we've spent insane amounts on underperforming strikers, and consequently, cannot afford players we want" hole.
Ancelotti, AVB, and RDM were dismissed in part due to the inability of a certain striker to find the net, and our inability to get rid of that striker and replace him with one that has some utility (a Ricky Lambert, or even a Danny Graham type of player would have sufficed). These events paved the way for a certain unwanted Spanish manager to come in and beat a burro muerto. If Rooney ends up wearing Chelsea blue, JM could quickly fall victim to the "we've spent insane amount of money on underperforming strikers... " syndrome. We want JM to stick around for a while.