Not only has new(ish) manager Jose Mourinho signed Andre Schurrle, Marco van Ginkel and Mark Schwarzer—horror show against Roma aside, still a very good backup keeper—but Daniel De Rossi remains on the radar.
And if Chelsea is able to wrangle the veteran Italian midfielder, it would complete a very fruitful summer—Rooney or no Rooney.
Although nothing concrete has materialized on this front despite De Rossi being rumored as a target for the Stamford Bridge side ever since the opening of the transfer window, chatter is beginning to heat up once again.
Most notably because of his comments on Wednesday, via Goal.com's Henry Jackson:
"Had I left Roma in the past or if I leave in the future then I would go for an experience abroad," De Rossi, 30, told reporters on Wednesday.
"I feel like an integral part of Roma and Roma are an integral part of my life, but if I was to go then I would not play for another Italian side out of respect to the club. I would move to a foreign outfit."
Combine that willingness to leave Italy—he said the "culture of Italian football is about 10-20 years behind the times" and that Serie A is quickly falling behind other top leagues—with Chelsea's rumored interest—the Daily Mail's Rik Sharma reports the Blues are planning on an £11 million move—and you've got something to build on.
While it's true that £11 million is quite expensive for the 30-year-old, it's difficult to deny the allure of adding someone like De Rossi, easily one of the most versatile players in the world.
Let's count the different ways in which he can contribute.
He can step in at center back. He did just that for Italy on Wednesday against Argentina, and although he didn't have a great match, he has done it before with success and could provide tremendous depth behind David Luiz, John Terry and Gary Cahill.
He can step in at defensive midfielder, a position at which he remains one of the best in the world. He is—with his ability to make strong tackles, hold possession, connect on decisive passes and move forward on the attack—the epitome of a deep-lying playmaker.
Imagine De Rossi sitting back, providing coverage and winning possession like a center back but holding that possession, making passes and linking up with the incredibly dangerous Oscar, Eden Hazard and Juan Mata like a center mid.
Chelsea has a nice group of defensive midfielders, but none can control that pivot position quite like De Rossi can.
There are concerns, such as his transfer price and recent form. But simply put, the veteran midfielder—or defender, attacker, free-kick specialist or whatever you want to call him—makes Chelsea better from both a talent and depth standpoint with John Obi Mikel's future in doubt.
And while the Rooney story is seemingly being written by George R.R. Martin, De Rossi is an incredibly nice distraction to have in the meantime.