Jose Mourinho says that he believes Manchester United, whom Chelsea face on Sunday, will sell Wayne Rooney this summer, but only to a club outside the Premier League.
The Chelsea manager was asked whether he still believed he could resurrect a deal for the United striker, who will miss Sunday's game with a groin injury. Chelsea bid twice for the Englishman and there are strong indications that Mourinho still believes he can sign the player, who has just one further season of his contract left to run.
In response to a question about whether he would swap any of his players for any of United's, Mourinho said: "Man United made it clear in the summer they don't swap or sell players to their direct rivals. They were clear in the way they approached the Rooney situation. For them, it's pretty clear. They don't swap. They don't sell."
Asked whether that would change, he said that United were "very clear". Pressed as to whether that could change this summer, he said: "I think maybe this summer they will try to sell to a non-direct rival. But they were very clear." He later clarified that by "non-direct rival" he meant an overseas club.
Although Rooney is not yet close to signing a new deal at United there have been strong suggestions that, should he refuse, the club could hold him to his existing contract and allow him to leave for nothing in the summer of next year. If the player does become available again this summer, then Chelsea will try once again to sign an individual whom Mourinho rates highly and counts as home-grown under Premier League rules.