CHELSEA manager Jose Mourinho has warned players they cannot afford to sit on the sidelines during a World Cup year, in what has been interpreted as a veiled message to transfer target Wayne Rooney.
Manchester United this week rejected Chelsea’s opening bid for the England striker, who is said to be concerned at suggestions from new boss David Moyes that he is behind Robin van Persie in the pecking order.
“For a player to be selected for his country, normally, the player must be a first-choice player in the club,” said Mourinho, whose remarks have also been linked to unsettled Blues stars such as Fernando Torres.
“He must play very regular with the club and that’s the big motivation if they are thinking about the World Cup. So any player that wants to go to the World Cup, if they are a second choice in their club, they are in trouble.”
Mourinho this week declared Rooney to be his only summer target, although United are believed to be reluctant to sell, especially to Premier League title rivals.
Reports in Spain have credited the Blues with interest in Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain, who had looked set to join Arsenal until talks stalled earlier this month. The Gunners have since appeared to prioritise Liverpool’s Luis Suarez, but Reds manager Brendan Rodgers yesterday played down talk of a deal.
Manchester City last night agreed a £23m fee for Fiorentina forward Stevan Jovetic, a former Arsenal target. The Montenegrin, 23, is expected to travel to England to complete the deal this week.