Blues’ billionaire owner Roman Abramovich has personally sanctioned a stunning £30million move for the unsettled Manchester United star – who had a plea for a move rejected by manager Alex Ferguson a fortnight ago.
There has been growing speculation about Wayne Rooney’s future at Man United, pre-dating news of Ferguson’s departure, and the 27 year old has certainly played a less pivotal role in the club’s Premier League title success this term as he has in previous campaigns.
Rooney has started 22 out of 36 Premier League fixtures this term and has, perhaps more tellingly, not started crucial fixtures in recent months, including last weekend’s home match with Chelsea as well as Man United’s Champions League second leg encounter with Real Madrid.
Indeed Chelsea may feel that the potential appointment of David Moyes as Ferguson’s successor could lead Rooney to seek a Man United exit. The Everton boss was very vocal in his disapproval of his former striker’s move to force his way to a Goodison Park exit in the summer of 2004.
This led to comments in Wayne Rooney’s autobiography that resulted in suing the England international, before both parties settled out of court.
And if, as expected, David Moyes takes over from the retiring Ferguson as manager of the Old Trafford giants, it may be too late to stop the move.
A United spokesman confirmed late on Wednesday that Rooney, disillusioned at being in and out of the side in recent weeks, had asked to leave, but said: “Wayne Rooney is not for sale.”
Moyes and Rooney have had a troubled relationship in the past and even though it has improved, speculation about the Scot’s arrival is unlikely to encourage Rooney to stay.
Champions League finalists Bayern remain keen to add Rooney to their growing roster of stars.
Their interest dates back several months and they are believed to be close to a deal.
But Abramovich has told Rooney’s representatives he is determined to sign the England striker as a statement of intent to co-incide with the planned return of Jose Mourinho for a second spell as manager.
Chelsea are confident they can hijack the Bayern deal and appeal to Rooney’s desire to stay in English football.
Rooney is the kind of muscular, physical forward Mourinho favours to lead the line and is seen as a high-profile replacement for Didier Drogba.
He is also available at the kind of price Chelsea are happy to pay, and is seen as the first step in Mourinho’s attempt to launch a title challenge next season. The price said to be between 25m and 30m.
Contact has already been made between Chelsea, United and Rooney’s representatives.