Wayne Rooney needs to break his silence in the next 48 hours and either commit to Manchester United or say he wants to leave the club, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said on Monday as he urged his top target to end the transfer saga.
The London club have made two unsuccessful bids for the England striker and have not ruled out making a third with their pursuit of him coming after former United manager Alex Ferguson said in May that Rooney wanted to quit Old Trafford.
Rooney played the whole of Monday’s 0-0 draw at home to the club chasing his signature with his manager David Moyes saying his performance on the pitch demonstrated his position on the matter without him actually needing to say it.
“I think the person that started the story has to finish the story,” Mourinho told a news conference.
“A club like us, a manager like me and the people that work in the club with me, we are not silly to try to get a player from a big club, a club that does not sell what they don’t want to sell, we are not silly to try something if somebody didn’t start.”
Asked if he meant did he want Rooney, who has not commented on the matter publicly, to come out and say he wanted to stay or go, he replied: “Yes.”
He added he would like that to happen in the next “24, 48 hours” as if Chelsea could not get Rooney they would sign someone else.
Rooney, who was cheered by his own fans and Chelsea’s, who were singing “Wayne Rooney, we’ll sign you next week”, had the best goal-scoring chances in a poor game, including an attempt at an acrobatic volley in stoppage time.
“I think his performance tonight said enough, he closed two or three people down in the corner and I think the crowd realised the work he did,” said Moyes, who has faced a barrage of Rooney questions since taking over the job last month.
“He was desperate to score, you could see that by the way he nearly scored with an overhead kick in injury time. So I think his actions tonight showed what he thought.”
Chelsea’s bid to sign Rooney had added spice to this early season meeting between the two big guns and Mourinho had stoked the fire by suggesting before the game that Moyes should shoulder the blame for the forward wanting to leave after suggesting he was a second-choice striker.
Despite calling for an end to the uncertainty over the future of Rooney, Mourinho did not quite finish courting him as he tried a flattery approach.
“I think the most important thing is he played very well, he was a real professional, he played for his club, played for the club that pays him, tried to win, tried to score, he was fantastic,” Mourinho said.
“After that if he wants to leave he has to say. Or he has decided now that he doesn’t want to leave anymore, it’s his problem but I praise him because he was fantastic.
“He played a fantastic match under these difficult circumstances so I praise him.”
As if to prove he was anything but second-choice, Moyes named Rooney in his starting line-up for the biggest test of his short United career so far and he was delighted with the result.
“I was very pleased with his performance and I was very pleased with the reaction from the crowd,” said the Scot, who has repeated the ‘he is not for sale’ mantra whenever he has faced questions about Rooney.
“But I’ve got to say I didn’t think it was unexpected … He’s been great in training, the way he’s trained and anyone who looks at him will notice he’s slightly leaner looking. He worked hard, he tackled, he chased when we needed it.”
The transfer window shuts on Sept. 2 which means that whether Rooney adheres to Mourinho’s two-day deadline or not, the football world will get a definitive answer by then.