Analysis: Chelsea make offer for Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney - but is he right for the Blues?

There must be doubts that the United forward is capable of scoring the goals Mourinho needs

Bangkok

It was hard to watch Chelsea in their first game of the new Jose Mourinho era and not ask yourself the question: what effect would Wayne Rooney have on this team?

Early days yet but it has been obvious for a long time that with a centre-forward capable of scoring 25 league goals a season, this would be a team difficult to stop.

Robin Van Persie scored 26 for United on their way to being champions last season. Rooney chipped in with 12. Fernando Torres managed eight, which was less than Romelu Lukaku on loan at West Bromwich Albion (17), Frank Lampard from midfield (15) and Eden Hazard (nine).

Chelsea need a prolific goalscorer. They had hoped it might be Radamel Falcao, who chose Monaco, but since the tail-end of last season they have placed their faith in prising Rooney away from the last two years of his United contract. On the day that they were finally forced to confirm their interest – and a bid for the player – Mourinho’s first Chelsea team of the new era took to the field in a very humid Bangkok.

In the first half he played Lukaku as the lead striker and the 20-year-old converted a penalty won by the exuberant Brazilian right-back Wallace Oliveira Dos Santos. Wallace, making his debut for Chelsea, will go on loan this coming season, most likely to Roma, in the hope that he will qualify for a work permit in the next year.

In the second half, it was Demba Ba who replaced Lukaku, and Ba is one of two, along with Torres, who will be vulnerable should Rooney join. In his best season for goalscoring, the 2011-2012 campaign, Rooney scored 27 goals, one more than he managed in 2009-2010. If he can recapture that kind of form for Chelsea he will be exactly what they need, although it should be pointed out that in his other seven seasons at the club he has scored no more than 16 in any one campaign.

Mourinho’s stand-out player in very stifling conditions was André Schürrle, whose first-half running at the right-back suggested that he will give Chelsea something of the power and adventurousness on the flanks that they had nine years ago. Schürrle likes to commit the full-back and seems like the kind of player that Mourinho will favour.

The Chelsea manager gave opportunities to Lucas Piazon, Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard in that No 10 role for which he will have so many options. Hazard, a second-half substitute, looked a different class to the rest of his team-mates on the occasions that he exerted himself.

With the wealth of attacking options that Mourinho has in the three attacking midfield positions – Juan Mata, Oscar, Hazard, Schürrle, Victor Moses and De Bruyne – there is the potential to provide the centre-forward whom Chelsea sign in this transfer window great service. Rooney has been told that at United he will be regarded as Van Persie’s reserve. At Chelsea he would be able to take advantage of all that talent behind him.

Yet if he did finally make the move there would be no hiding place. After Torres, and Andrei Shevchenko before him, Chelsea cannot risk another expensive centre-forward who does not come up with goals in substantial quantities.

Chelsea line-up: Room for Rooney?

* Chelsea have preferred a 4-2-3-1 formation in recent seasons and yesterday’s friendly indicated Jose Mourinho may maintain the shape. That would limit options for Wayne Rooney up front – although the England international has led the line on his own in the past. Rooney has also helped in midfield for Manchester United in recent years, though Chelsea are overloaded in that area.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence