Manchester United have again attempted to demonstrate their strength in the face of transfer rumours, by insisting that Wayne Rooney is not for sale to Chelsea.
United have taken a top-level decision that Rooney will not be allowed to move to Premier League rivals Chelsea, and will not be sold to the London club for any price, according to a report in a British newspaper.
Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea have placed two bids for the United and England striker, and hoped that United could be persuaded to let go their unsettled striker.
But United are determined to show their strength under the new stewardship of David Moyes, and would reject any further Chelsea bid “on principle.”
United are willing to stand firm, even in the event of Rooney going public with a desire to leave Old Trafford, or submitting a formal transfer request.
United’s stance on Rooney has not changed all summer, with both David Moyes and spokespeople for the club asserting that Rooney is not for sale.
Rooney, meanwhile, will have plenty to think about when he returns to United from international duty. The team begin the new Premier League season at Swansea City on Saturday followed by Chelsea visiting Old Trafford on 26 August and a match littered with off-pitch politics.
No deal was ever likely before that game and Chelsea will discover in the coming weeks that United are not willing to bargain, at any price, after that date either.
United’s rivals Manchester City have made an approach for Atletico Madrid and Argentina defender Martin Demichelis after fearing that Pepe will be too difficult to sign from Real Madrid. Demichelis only moved to Atletico on a free transfer from Malaga this summer, but is willing to be sold to help raise money for his club.
City’s Txiki Begiristain has flown to Madrid and plans to return with a deal for a central defender, and it is believed that it is going to be for Demichelis and not Pepe.
He would be hoping to convince both Atletico and Demichelis that turning his back on the Madrid club so soon after joining is a good move for all concerned.
In another development, unsettled Liverpool striker Luis Suarez denied a report, saying that he had decided to stay at Anfield.
The Arsenal target had been quoted as saying in an interview from Japan with an Uruguayan newspaper that he would stay with Liverpool.
However, he denied that he had had a change of heart. “I didn’t say that, maybe someone else did and the main thing is that I am here now with the national team," Suarez said.
Liverpool have had two bids from Arsenal rejected and Suarez has been made to train on his own by manager Brendan Rodgers after accusing the club of breaking promises by refusing to let him leave.