Wayne Rooney the Right Move at the Right Time for Chelsea
Originally posted at isportstimes.com on July 17, 2013
There are a lot of words that can describe the Roman Abromovich era at Chelsea, but patience has not typically been one of them. But patience is exactly what the newly reunited Abromovich-Jose Mourinho pairing has shown during this transfer window. Aside from the under-the-radar additions of Andre Schurrle and youngster Marco van Ginkel to the plethora of midfield options already on the squad, Chelsea has been relatively quiet during the close season. Despite the need for a top class forward to go along with all that midfield talent, Chelsea has sat back as prized forwards Radamel Falcao and Edinson Cavani signed for exorbitant fees with French adversaries Monaco and PSG respectively. Even dropping to the next tier of potentially available strikers, Chelsea has not been seriously connected to a move for Gonzalo Higuain, Luis Suarez, or Christian Benteke.
Whether this newfound fiscal prudence is a product of impending Financial Fair Play regulations or simply a realization in the Chelsea camp that 50 million pound transfers rarely go as planned is unclear. However, it now seems that Chelsea is ready to break their (relative) transfer window silence as they appear to be the leading club in the race for disgruntled Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney, so much so that Mourinho is already sending winky face emoticons to the wayward striker.
To the complete and utter shock of Chelsea fans, it turns out that displaying a little patience in the transfer window can actually pay dividends, as Wayne Rooney is the right player for Chelsea to add to boost them to a Premier League crown.
With a quick glance at the Chelsea roster, it’s easy to see how Rooney would fit into the side. It’s abundantly clear that Fernando Torres cannot cut it as a primary striker on a side with Champions League ambitions, and Demba Ba appears to be on his way out of Southwest London. This leaves Chelsea with no depth at striker outside of the emerging Romelu Lukaku. For all his potential, a club with Chelsea’s aspirations cannot trust their season to a 20 year old with precious little Champions League experience. This dynamic makes Rooney the perfect fit for the club, as he will be able to slot in as the leading forward, his preferred position, on most match days.
Beyond that, it would be irresponsible to expect Rooney to play in a full slate of games throughout the season. Between the Premier League, Champions League, and FA Cup, there should be ample opportunity to give Lukaku a chance to establish himself as a regular for Chelsea. Furthermore, Rooney’s ability to occasional play out wide or as an attacking midfielder will afford Mourinho the option of playing Rooney and Lukaku at the same time should he desire a little extra firepower in the side.
From a football perspective, Rooney is a nice fit with regards to the type of striker Mourinho prefers to deploy. He may not have the size of a Karim Benzema or Didier Drogba, but his stocky, muscular build allows him to keep from being pushed around by the bigger central defenders roaming Premier League penalty areas. At 27, Rooney still has the guile and pace to be an instrumental part of the build-up play, and he should revel in the quality and quantity of chances he will receive playing in front of the likes of Eden Hazard, Juan Mata (should he stay), Frank Lampard, and Oscar.
Perhaps most importantly, one thing Rooney has shown throughout his career is that a motivated Wayne Rooney is a dangerous Wayne Rooney, and all expectations are that Rooney will be plenty motivated for the coming campaign. Despite establishing himself as a club legend at United, he was replaced by a player two years his senior (the admittedly prolific Robin van Persie), was forced to play out of position to accommodate his replacement, and then had to deal with verbal barbs from both his outgoing boss as well as his incoming boss. Aside from domestic motivations, the shadow of the World Cup next summer looms over the season, as Rooney will surely be determined to have an excellent season to reestablish himself as the pivotal player in England’s World Cup hopes. One of Mourinho’s greatest strengths is man management; players simply love to play for him. And footballers, despite the millions they make through wages and endorsements, just want to be loved.
All in all, the time is right for Rooney to make the switch to Southwest London. It’s the perfect match. He has nothing left to prove at United, and Chelsea affords him the right mix of opportunity and challenge. For Chelsea, Rooney represents an ideal opportunity to add a premier goal scoring threat that the club so desperately needs.