Chelsea are now odds-on to sign Wayne Rooney after Manchester United rejected an offer from the Blues for the striker, who also continues to interest Arsenal and Real Madrid.
Jose Mourinho has made little secret of his admiration for the England hitman and has seemingly firmed up the Londoners’ interest by lodging the official bid, believed to be £10m plus either Juan Mata or David Luiz.
Although the offer was swiftly dismissed by United, the news has prompted the bwin bookmakers to slash the odds on the former Everton forward joining Chelsea in the current transfer window from 7/2 to 7/10.
There have been widespread reports that Rooney is “angry and confused” by recent comments made by new Reds boss David Moyes and chief executive Ed Woodward about his future.
He was apparently riled by Moyes’ suggestion this week that he is behind Robin van Persie in the striking pecking order at Old Trafford, while Woodward has suggested that United would happily allow the 27-year-old to run down the final two years of his contract.
Those developments have clearly provided encouragement for Chelsea as they seek to pull off what would be one of the most spectacular coups of the summer.
Arsenal are also believed to be keen on Rooney as they look to bolster their front line ahead of the new campaign and the cash-rich Gunners could yet test United’s resolve with a big-money bid of their own.
With the club’s pursuit of Gonzalo Higuain stalling as Real Madrid play hardball over a transfer fee and Liverpool holding out for in excess of £40m for Luis Suarez, boss Arsene Wenger may view Rooney as a viable alternative.
Arsenal can be backed at 9/1 to secure his signature before September 4th, with Real Madrid a 12/1 chance and Manchester City – who tried to sign him in 2010 – live 20/1 outsiders.
However, with Rooney’s wife Coleen believed to favour staying in England and London providing an appealing change of scenery, Chelsea and Arsenal now look set to go head-to-head for his services.
Punters who believe Moyes will dig his heels in and refuse to sanction the move can back Rooney to still be a United player at the end of the transfer window at evens.