The Mail are running a story claiming the Blues are planning to go back in for Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney this January. Rooney's contract situation is well known at this point, with the primary target from this past summer down to just 1.5 season remaining before he's free to leave for nothing. The logic here is that United presumably want to avoid losing such an important player without getting anything in return, and therefore would potentially be open to a sale if the player isn't willing to extend his current deal.
While this story is probably based on nothing but speculation anyway, it really doesn't matter if the Blues were to make such an offer or not. United weren't overly receptive to talk of a Rooney deal during the summer, and it makes even less sense for the reigning champions to consider selling him now. Here are a few reasons why:
- United are currently sitting five points behind the final Champions League place, a gap that's far from insurmountable at this stage. With the talent and resources the club have at their disposal, making up that gap and returning to Europe's elite competition will certainly be priority number one.
- United drew the weakest side possible for the Champions League round of 16, so there is very little reason to believe they won't walk into the quarterfinals with ease. At that point of the competition, there really isn't a reason that United couldn't pull off a run like Chelsea did two seasons agol, especially if they manage to add a competent midfielder during the window.
- With 18 months remaining on Rooney's deal, United aren't in a position where they need to sell now or lose him for nothing. Waiting until this summer is still a reasonable option, especially if they believe that there is any chance their second half and summer spending could convince Rooney to extend.
- Rooney is probably the most versatile attacker in that squad, and has been by far their best attacking option this season. With RVP showing why he's got such an injury-prone reputation, United are awfully short on attacking players other clubs truly fear.
- Everything we've heard about United indicate they've got a small fortune to spend if they find the right player. They don't need to move one of their best players in order to be able to strengthen elsewhere, and it seems a bit redundant to pay the January premium to improve if you're shipping one of your best players out at the same time.
- United seem to prefer not sending useful players to rivals, something that can probably be said for basically any English club.
Could a cash-only deal for Wayne Rooney happen during the January window? I suppose it's possible, though it seems like there's probably just as good a chance that Barcelona decide to put Lionel Messi up for sale. Rooney's contract situation certainly makes a move in the not too distant future seem plausible, though a January move to Chelsea doesn't seem overly likely at all. This certainly won't stop the tabloids from running this nonsense, but there's just no reason to suspect that anything is likely to happen.
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