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Has Mourinho given up the Rooney ghost?

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Clive Rose

One of the more interesting transfer sagas of the summer was Chelsea's pursuit of Manchester United centre forward/attacking midfielder/great big lump Wayne Rooney. Although the Blues didn't get their man, they did succeed in winding up United, and although you can hardly credit their transfer window shenanigans to interference from Chelsea, it was at the very least highly amusing.

There've been plenty of suggestions that Rooney remains a high-priority target for Jose Mourinho -- not an enormous surprise, considering he's actually been quite good this season -- but when pressed on the subject the manager seemed to imply that he's given up hope of landing the 28-year-old, instead claiming that he'll be sold abroad this summer:

Manchester United made it clear in the summer they don't swap or sell players to their direct rivals. They were clear in the way they approached the Rooney situation. For them it's pretty clear. They don't swap. They don't sell.

[Will that change in summer?] No. They were very clear. I think maybe this summer they will try to sell to a non-[domestic] rival. But they were very clear [about Chelsea].

-Source: Guardian.

United, of course, have since strongly denied they had any plans to ship Rooney overseas this summer, so it's entirely possible that Mourinho said that they would just to be annoying. It's certainly his style. But at the same time, winding up United isn't a good way of getting them to sell you their players; I'd be pretty sure that Mr. Potato Head won't be gracing Stamford Bridge anytime soon.