London – Chelsea will make their final bid of £35million for Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney after Monday’s showdown match between the teams.
With £30m Willian confirmed as Chelsea’s biggest signing of the summer, manager Jose Mourinho will set his sights on the centre-forward he covets, with the bid expected to be tabled on Tuesday.
Mourinho is undeterred by United’s insistence that they will not sell at any price and said: “Let’s see. We make the bid and they say no again, what do we lose? One email?
“We are going to get a maximum of two players in this window, so if we get the second piece it will be the final piece.”
The Portuguese insists he wants to keep Juan Mata but refused to discuss his response if United offer to swap Rooney for Mata.
Mourinho added: “It’s hypothetical because they haven’t asked. The two answers we got from Manchester United were, ‘We don’t accept the bid, we are not interested in selling the player’. Until Monday we have nothing more to add and we want to respect them and respect football.”
But Mourinho says he is puzzled that some view his pursuit of Rooney as an attempt to undermine David Moyes in his opening weeks in the job.
He said: “I don’t understand (that) because it is normal that we would want to strengthen our squad in every position. We did it from the goalkeeper, we did it in midfield, in creative positions, we did it in the striker’s position.”
And Mourinho insists he would have no fear selling a player to domestic rivals and even argues that the reluctance of clubs such as United to do so could damage the Premier League.
Mourinho said: “I think that old-fashioned mentality of ‘I don’t sell players to clubs in the same country’ doesn’t help the market.
“Sometimes you push players to play abroad when you should be interested in keeping them in your league.
“You see in Italy what happens in every season without any problem, a player goes from Milan to Inter, from Inter to Milan, from Roma to Juventus, from Juventus to Inter. And they do this all the time. You see Inzaghi, Inzaghi played for Juventus, for Milan. From the big ones, only Totti stayed for life. All the other big guys – Pirlo: Inter, Milan, Juventus.”
Rooney knows how reluctant United are to sell him and it looks likely that the third bid will be rejected – unless a player of Mata’s quality is used to soften the blow to United’s squad.
But while Mata’s more instinctive play may not match the kind of football Mourinho demands, he remains a favourite of the owner Roman Abramovich and has twice been voted player of the year by fans. – Mail on Sunday