Wayne Rooney's potential transfer to Chelsea holds huge repercussions for the Premier League title race.
As reported by Sky Sports, the English forward has been outlined as Jose Mourinho’s only remaining target in the summer transfer window. The Blues lodged a cash bid but were immediately rebuffed by Manchester United, who will be wary of losing a key asset during this time of transition.
The Premier League champions are undoubtedly playing games with their rivals. It is clear Rooney’s Old Trafford tenure has reached a natural end. His determined spirit and fight has disappeared when wearing the red shirt, forcing many to question his commitment to the Manchester club. He has grown stagnant and must move on to ensure his career maintains momentum.
His transfer to Chelsea would change England's top division in a dramatic way for both clubs. Jose Mourinho’s first spell as Stamford Bridge boss was defined by physical, intricate football that flitted between overpowering opponents and passing around them. The Portuguese manager favours forwards who perform a number of duties and prefers strikers who can lead the line with supportive wingers alongside them.
Didier Drogba’s legendary Chelsea career is testimony of this. At Real Madrid, it’s no secret Mourinho favoured utilising the imposing presence of Karim Benzema over Gonzalo Higuain during important matches. With Fernando Torres and Demba Ba struggling for consistent form in London, the lure of Rooney has Mourinho reminiscing about a dominant style that has served him well in the past.
Rooney shares many of the same qualities as Drogba and Benzema. He instinctively uses his weight to maintain possession and bypass the threat of incoming tackles. The 27-year-old is more than prepared to defend corners and help his team quash any danger by regularly tracking back. Rooney looks to open space up with key passes, likes to dictate the pace of play and is capable of patrolling the opposition’s area.
Most importantly, he is more than capable of scoring 20 goals per season in the Premier League.
A regular goalscorer will improve Chelsea massively. Players such as Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar continue to produce goalscoring opportunities for the club's current strikers, but Torres and Ba have succumbed to the “Andriy Shevchenko Curse of Change”. Both were better off staying at their previous clubs, and like Rooney, must start afresh.
If Chelsea were to land the former Everton striker, Mourinho’s men wouldn’t be the only side to feel the impact of his influence. Manchester United would suddenly have a huge gap to fill behind Robin van Persie.
Although Moyes may be happy to see the back of his troubled player, his immediate task of replacing Sir Alex Ferguson becomes all the more daunting without Rooney around. The moody forward has so often been a saviour for United, and the club’s available replacements are not enough to compete with the Premier League's elite, especially after various transfer dealings.
Shinji Kagawa has the potential to thrive behind a United attack that would be forced into calling on Javier Hernandez. While both players are more than capable of winning matches for the Red Devils, United’s flimsy midfield would be amplified without Rooney’s dogged defensive work.
Chelsea overcame United on two occasions towards the end of the 2012/13 season. Rooney’s potential allegiance switch would not only alter United’s trusted formula, but it would provide the Europa League winners with the bullish forward that has been needed ever since Torres arrived in 2011.
For Jose Mourinho, the reproduction of an old style is sure to end in Premier League success.