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Wayne Rooney – Chelsea’s Missing Jigsaw Piece? How He Would Fit In At Stamford Bridge
One of the most ‘unnatural’ sounding transfers of the last few years looks to be on the cards, as Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney continues to hurl his toys every which way, angling for a move to Premier League rivals, Chelsea.
His well-documented relationship with new United boss, David Moyes, is evidently frayed, and seems now to be almost at breaking point. The Scot’s comments concerning the nature of Rooney’s role within his side have left the England striker ‘angry and confused’. Those feelings have seemingly been exacerbated further after United Chief Executive, Ed Woodward, displayed casual ambivalence over the prospect of Rooney’s contract running down, and out.
All signs seem to point to the striker’s exit from Old Trafford, and the lack of direct quotes from the player is telling at this time. The three-words released by Rooney’s representatives leave little to the imagination, and his anger and confusion seem definitive as to the situation at hand. The prospect of linking up with Jose Mourinho at Chelsea would be tempting to many of the world’s stars, and it seems, that allure has stretched to even the most unlikely of sources.
While Rooney remains one of the world’s elite strikers, and indeed players, his star has arguably waned since the arrival of one Robin Van Persie. The devastating Dutchman has wreaked havoc on Premier League defences since his arrival last year, carrying on in much a similar vein to his exploits for Arsenal. His name is arguably one of the first on the United team sheet, and this has seen Rooney become almost an expensive luxury, rather than an essential cog in the club’s war machine. This has taken its toll on the ego of the England man, as he feels that he is in the prime of his career, and should be gracing each and every game with his presence.
While few would argue with the man, as when on form, the 27-year-old is as brilliant as they come. His raw passion and hunger, coupled with innate grace and poise, makes his footballing talent something of a unique quantity. But frequent inconsistencies, and a growing uncertainty over his best position, have worked against England’s golden boy, and he now finds himself in the uncomfortable position of having to prove himself once more.
Chelsea have offered to give him that chance, and to harness his obvious talents under the watchful eye of their Portuguese managerial wizard. The tale of Didier Drogba is one that will give Jose Mourinho real credence for the rest of magical career; turning the Ivorian from bungling target man, to dream striker, record breaker, and lion of Stamford Bridge. Drogba was recently named Chelsea’s best ever player by the fans of the club, and the striker has not hid his admiration and gratitude for his old manager in easing him through his journey in becoming one of the most feared strikers of his generation.
That same influence is there for Wayne Rooney; and there may be room enough for the striker in the blue of Chelsea. Considering the Londoner’s ill-luck in the transfer market, with the likes of Falcao, Cavani, and Jovetic opting for other lucrative career paths, Chelsea find themselves with a small pool of targets left to go for. Indeed, Mourinho insisted that it is now ‘Rooney or bust’ for the club, and with little else to choose from the spectrum of world class striking options, Rooney may indeed be the last apple on the tree.
Wayne Rooney at Chelsea
Chelsea have experienced quite obvious shortcomings in the way of strikers this past year. The incorrigible Fernando Torres and Demba ‘Stop-gap’ Ba only managed a meagre 10 league goals between them last time around; Rooney has never scored less than that number in the league during his nine seasons at United.
Romelu Lukaku has returned to the Bridge after his highly successful loan spell at West Brom, but there will still be question marks over the young Belgian. The onus is that the 20-year-old could still be the future of the Chelsea front line, but for now, the still maligned Torres remains the main man. He may have struggled for form in the league up until now, but the 29-year-old was pretty prolific in Europe for Chelsea last season, and Mourinho may utilise his selfless running, and footballing brain as a foil for a new-look, Rooney-infused triumvirate behind the striker.
Rooney’s ability to play in a number of positions makes him an ideal, Mourinho-esque player. Be it holding the line up top, dropping deep to bridge the gap between the midfield and attack, or even deployed on the wing, Rooney’s undeniable talents allow him to flit effortlessly between a number of roles.
His defensive aptitude, still a rarity in a top-class striker, increases his value to the team. Drogba was renowned for his selfless defending from set plays, and was a willing tool for the defence when needed; Rooney is no different.
His defensive vision would also allow for more freedom and creativity from other midfield areas, allowing the possibility of David Luiz’ own brand of central midfield deviancy.
As was evident from the 2009/10 season, Rooney is quite capable of leading the line himself, scoring hatful’s of goals, and banishing the striking demons that have been so rife at Chelsea. His 34 goals in 44 games that season saw him win the ‘Barclays Player of the Year’ award, and prove that he is an outstanding main striker; a lead striker.
With the likes of Mata, Lampard, Hazard, and new signing Andre Schurrle behind him, he would have an abundance of talent itching to help him plunder opposition, at home and abroad; Rooney could reach those lofty heights once more.
Goodness only knows if Chelsea can pull off what will be one of the most dramatic signings in the Premier League, but if they do, it may well be that last piece of the Chelsea jigsaw.
Jose Mourinho has the ability to eke out the very best from the players at his disposal, and if Wayne Rooney is after a new challenge, a new lease of life, he would surely find it at Chelsea. But, as we have seen in recent years, not every big name striker is a sure thing at the Blues.
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