Chelsea are ready to pounce with a £30million bid for Wayne Rooney if the Manchester United forward’s proposed new contract talks hit the buffers.

United will meet Rooney’s representatives this month for initial discussions about a new deal, but serious doubts remain as to whether they can persuade him to sign if the club fail to qualify for the Champions League.

That has prompted renewed speculation over the England star’s future and Chelsea will be knocking on United’s door — as they did last summer when a move to Stamford Bridge looked on the cards.

Manager Jose Mourinho made Rooney his No1 priority to the extent that other Chelsea targets, such as Edinson Cavani, Radamel Falcao, Mario Gotze and Neymar were allowed to slip through their net. The west London club were not discouraged following discreet overtures over Rooney’s unrest at Old Trafford.

The situation changed when David Moyes made it plain that Rooney would not be leaving, and the Merseysider responded by hitting peak form, despite inconsistent team performances which have left United off the pace in seventh.

The manager still envisages his former Everton protégé playing a key future role, especially if and when he strengthens his squad this summer. United executive chairman Ed Woodward is in contact with Rooney’s agent Paul Stretford to set up talks, with the pair expected to meet this month to talk about extending a deal which runs out in June 2015.– Mail On Sunday