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Rooney remains heavy odds-on to start 2014/15 at Man Utd

Chelsea may be back in the hunt for Wayne Rooney after failing in their pursuit of the striker over the summer, but the price remains at 2/7 that he is still a Manchester United player at the start of the 2014/15 campaign.

It is not a great secret that Jose Mourinho is looking to enhance his striking ranks, ideally in the January transfer window, with Rooney on a shortlist that also includes Gonzalo Higuain, Jackson Martinez, Hulk and Mario Balotelli.

Rooney’s current contract at Old Trafford is up at the end of next season and the general feeling is that he won’t be agreeing to a new deal until the summer at the earliest, after he has played at the World Cup and have the knowledge of whether Man Utd have qualified for the Champions League again.

The form of Rooney himself cannot be questioned as Man Utd look to confirm a top-four finish, as only Cesc Fabregas can trump his nine assists across Europe’s top five leagues this season.

It seems implausible that Man Utd will sell Rooney in January, as retaining their best players will be critical if they are to bridge the current five-point gap to the top four.

How Man Utd act in the summer if Rooney decides against extending his present deal could be interesting, as offers will surely be on the table for his services.

If a club were to offer £25m for Rooney in the summer, this may be too much to turn down, especially as this would go some way to acquiring a replacement.

But, Borussia Dortmund have already shown with Robert Lewandowski that clubs may be willing to accept losing their best players for nothing, if it means they continue to star for them until their contract is up.

The quality of Rooney’s performances at the World Cup could be critical in this regard, as a strong set of performances that spearhead England to the latter stages could add £10m to the price that clubs are willing to pay in the summer.

Whereas, England going out in the group stages with Rooney failing to score and having little impact on the tournament may result in offers much smaller.

Finishing in the Champions League places is the first thing that Man Utd can do to enhance their prospects of keeping Rooney and it is 6/4 that David Moyes’ men do improve to finish in the top four.