United might have started the David Moyes era triumphantly by thumping Swansea 4-1 on Saturday, but the first three points under the new manager are a distant memory on today’s backpages, which focus, yet again, on transfer speculations as the transfer window enters its final two weeks.
The man at the centre of attention is, rather obviously, Wayne Rooney. The saga surrounding the England striker’s future has been arguably the story of the summer, second only to the Luis Suarez’s shamble down the East Lancs Road and the doubts surrounding the future of the man who trademarked a goal celebration.
On Saturday, Rooney returned to action with United for the first time since May and while he still looked rusty and some way off being completely match-fit, he also had a hand in the third and fourth goal, after which, admittedly, he seemed reluctant to join his team-mates’ celebrations.
David Moyes praised Rooney for his “committed” approach after the game, while the England striker told Sky Sports he was “looking forward to get some games under his belt” but even that hasn’t stopped some of today’s newspaper to claim that Chelsea will pursue Rooney until deadline day.
Chelsea manager’s Jose Mourinho didn’t refer to Rooney by name, but his words sounded like a statement of intent.
“You know which players — we can sniff a situation and always in an ethical way,” said the Chelsea manager.
“We will try till the last day to add a new player to the squad,” continued Mourinho. “A striker. I don’t think it’s ethical I name players who belong to other clubs. If we have to make a bid, we make it in an official way.
“We don’t speak to players but to clubs. We don’t try to influence players to behave in a certain way, as other clubs do. We behave in the correct manner and we’ll try for that until the last day of the window.”
Mourinho’s ethical concerns are admirable, however given that United have already issued a “not for sale” statement, the Chelsea manager might have already overstepped the line, as he continues to try to lure Wayne Rooney to Stamford Bridge, with his next offer thought to be in the region of £40m.
United have already turned down two offers worth around £25m for the England striker but a £40m bid would David Moyes’ stance to the limit, particularly if United were to secure a couple of signings between now and September 2. £40m for a 27-year-old would represent excellent value for money, but United appear increasingly unlikely to be willing to part ways with the striker.
Meanwhile, Michael Carrick has stepped up to defend Wayne Rooney, claiming that the striker is considered part of the team.
“I thought he came on and looked good. He set up two goals and that’s what he’s all about. He’s a real threat. He got a bit of a whack [on his Achilles] when he made Danny’s second but I’m sure he’ll be all right. He’s a big Manchester United player. He’s one of us and we all stick together.
“When we’re on the pitch we fight for each other and do what we can for Wayne. He’s certainly part of that,” Carrick told the Guardian.
“He’s given this club an awful lot so the fans support him and we support him. As I said, we stick together. It was a good day.”
Related items from Red Rants: