Manchester United are back at odds-on to retain Wayne Rooney’s services next season, having been recently usurped at the top of the market by Chelsea, but Liverpool are still preparing for life without Luis Suarez and expect Arsenal to redouble their efforts this week with an improved bid.
The champions are now 7/10 favourites to keep Rooney, after a second offer from the west Londoners – believed to be in the region of £30m – was rejected out of hand and Jose Mourinho has identified alternative targets, with Samuel Eto’o thought to be interested in a reunion with his former boss at Inter Milan, following current club Anzi Makhachkala’s decision to trim their vast budget.
The Chelsea boss’ pursuit of Rooney has seemed somewhat hubristic from the start – even for the super-confident Special One – as United haven’t sold one of their best players to a domestic rival in the Premier League era, with Sir Alex Ferguson famously blocking Gabriel Heinze’s attempt to swap Old Trafford for Anfield after losing his place to Patrice Evra back in 2007.
Mourinho may have thought the Red Devils’ resolve in the transfer market left Salford when Fergie retired, but although new manager David Moyes has struggled to land his top targets this summer, he knows that he doesn’t have to sell Rooney to finance any moves and will rely on the England striker next season, especially if Robin van Persie’s injury problems resurface.
The situation with Suarez is very different, with no Champions League football on offer on Merseyside and limited funds available to manager Brendan Rodgers.
The £9m paid to Sunderland for goalkeeper Simon Mignolet is Liverpool’s biggest purchase so far this summer, with young Spanish forwards Iago Aspas and Luis Alberto arriving for a combined £15m and Rodgers does not currently have the funds to compete for top defensive target Kyriakos Papadopoulos, who is also wanted by Manchester City.
With Suarez already cut-off from the first-team after refusing to apologise for his posturing, Rodgers has to sell soon or risk starting the season short at the back, with £40m plus of equity languishing in the reserves.