JOSE Mourinho and Chelsea will test Manchester United’s determination to retain striker Wayne Rooney before the transfer window closes because “nobody forbids you to try”.
Chelsea have already seen two bids for the United striker rejected, but manager Mourinho is not yet prepared to cut his losses and will continue his pursuit until the 2 September deadline. Mourinho was asked the motivation behind a probable new bid, despite United insisting Rooney is not for sale, and the Portuguese said David Moyes could always reject any fresh approach, just as Chelsea had from Barcelona for David Luiz.
If Mourinho is feeling mischievous, the new bid could come prior to next Monday’s Barclays Premier League trip to Old Trafford. “You try, because nobody forbids you to try,” said the self-proclaimed Special One, who was speaking ahead of the clash with Aston Villa. “When you think that you’d like to have one player and the market is open and the official bids are not forbidden, official bids are always accepted in an ethical way. Of course, the player’s owners they can do exactly what we did in relation to David Luiz and Barcelona.”
Mourinho has expressed satisfaction with his squad, which contains three strikers in Fernando Torres, Romelu Lukaku and Demba Ba, but also has a fallback option if a move for Rooney is blocked again.
Mourinho, who has been linked with a move for Anzhi Makhachkala striker Samuel Eto’o, who played under him at Inter Milan, added: “We have plans B and C. Don’t ask me names because it’s difficult to speak about players from other clubs.”
Despite hoping to remain active in it, Mourinho sympathises with those managers calling for the transfer window to close before the Premier League season starts. The subject again arose on Monday when Arsenal’s bid for Newcastle’s Yohan Cabaye on the day of the Magpies’ match at Manchester City provoked Alan Pardew’s ire.
“At a certain point I agree with what Alan was saying, that the transfer window goes too far, the transfer window goes to the third, fourth fixture of the season, which I also agree that is too much,” Mourinho said. “But at the same time it gives everybody a chance to be in the market while we are winning or losing points. We have conditions to try to improve our team by bringing in one more player and we are going to try that.”
Villa head to Chelsea tomorrow earlier than planned owing to the Blues’ Uefa Super Cup commitments at the end of the month, buoyed by their 3-1 win at Arsenal. And Mourinho is wary of Villa following their success at the Emirates Stadium.
“It’s not such a big surprise because Aston Villa can do that to any one of us,” Mourinho said. “Last season they had more points away from home than at Villa Park. They are a team with qualities to play away, to play the counter-attack game they played at the Emirates.
“They are a good team. It’s not such a big drama, they can beat any one of the contenders.”
Paul Lambert has told his Villa side they owe it to themselves and their fans to atone for last season’s 8-0 humiliation by Chelsea. Villa’s capitulation at Stamford Bridge was arguably the lowest point of a difficult campaign as they battled relegation and suffered three bruising defeats around the Christmas period.
That loss at Stamford Bridge was followed by a 4-0 home battering by Tottenham and a worrying 3-0 defeat by Wigan at Villa Park, leaving Villa among the favourites to go down before a resurgence eventually pulled them to safety.
Lambert is not dwelling on their harrowing visit to Chelsea last year but knows they can go some way to making up for it this time around.
“We owe it to ourselves as well to go down there and try to do better,” he said. “Our crowd have been absolutely brilliant. Even after that game they never turned on the lads. That speaks volumes for the supporters. I don’t think about it (the 8-0 defeat) to be honest. I don’t look back on it.”