Wayne Rooney of Manchester United blocks a clearance by Gary Cahill of Chelsea

Manchester United reject Chelsea’s bid for Wayne Rooney

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Just hours after Wayne Rooney was said to be “angry and confused” by Manchester United’s stance on his future, Premier League rivals Chelsea have launched their bid to bring Rooney to Stamford Bridge.

This never-ending soap opera just took another twist.

However United instantly rejected Chelsea’s offer for the 27-year-old England international, and the circus surrounding Rooney’s future continues.

According to reports in England, Chelsea offered either David Luiz or Juan Mata plus $15 million to land United’s wantaway striker. But Chelsea have confirmed that a straight cash bid was made for Rooney. Does that seem fair for a player who clearly wants to leave?

I think so.

After returning to England following a hamstring injury while on United’s preseason tour of Thailand, Rooney is cut away from the squad and manager David Moyes.

Over the weekend Moyes spoke in a press conference about Rooney’s situation, for the umpteenth time, and stated that “overall my thought on Wayne is, if for any reason we had an injury to Robin van Persie, we’ll need him.”

How could Rooney not be “angry and confused” by that?

A striker of his caliber and goalscoring expertise is nobody’s backup. This may have been the final nail in the coffin. The sooner Rooney leaves the better.

(MORE: Wayne Rooney “may want a fresh challenge” away from Manchester United)

But with reports of Manchester United wanting a quite ridiculous transfer fee of $115 million… that won’t be happening unless they back down. United should cut their losses and let Rooney leave, they have clearly stated that RVP is their main man throughout last season and now with Moyes’ comments during the preseason tour. Rooney isn’t willing to play second fiddle to another striker at United. So he wants out. It’s understandable.

Would he have to do that at Chelsea? New manager José Mourinho has been coy yet respectful when asked about Rooney and has stated he is a player “he really likes.” With Fernando Torres blowing hot and cold and other strikers Demba Ba and Romelu Lukaku dividing opinion at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea could use another striker to bolster their attack. Rooney could also flourish in the No.10 role in behind the main striker and dictate the tempo of the game with his exquisite range of passing.

(MORE: Is Rooney only ‘vital’ in Robin van Persie’s absence?)

Chelsea are probably thinking: ‘why not try and grab one of England’s greatest ever attackers in his prime?’

But back to his present club, since Rooney joined United nine years ago his record is quite stunning and he’s been a figurehead for the playing staff ever since he arrived as a wide-eyed teenager.

Rooney has scored 197 goals in 400 games, just under a goal every other game, and he’s scored at least 15 goals a season since joining United in the 2004-05 campaign.

The ex-Everton striker scored 34 goals in 44 games in both the 2009-10 and 2011-12 seasons and despite RVP’s marauding goalscoring exploits last season, Manchester United’s staff and fans shouldn’t be quick to forget Rooney’s contribution over the last decade. Rooney has helped them win multiple EPL titles and a UEFA Champions League crown.

But every storybook career has new chapters, and it seems as though Rooney is entering the final page of his Manchester United career.

Norwich City striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel signs with former club Vitesse Arnham

NORWICH, ENGLAND - AUGUST 17:Ricky van Wolfswinkel of Norwich City celebrates after scoring their second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Everton at Carrow Road on August 17, 2013 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)
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Ricky Van Wolfswinkel, Norwich City’s record transfer at the time of his purchase from Sporting CP in 2013, is moving on after a largely unsuccessful four-year stint with the Canaries.

The 27-year-old has returned to his home country, moving to Vitesse Arnham – the club he went professional with as a 19-year-old. Van Wolfswinkel made his professional debut in April of 2008 with Vitesse, and now returns for an undisclosed fee.

Van Wolfswinkel came to Norwich in 2013 with much fanfare, signing for a reported fee of $11 million – a club record signing at the time.

He proceeded to score just a single goal in 25 appearances during his first season in the Premier League, with Norwich finding itself relegated. He moved to Ligue 1 on loan with Norwich in the Championship, but still managed just five goals in 28 league appearances with St. Etienne. He never made another appearance for the Canaries, instead moving on loan again Real Betis last season, but flopped there too, scoring just once in 16 league appearances.

“I debuted in professional football on behalf of Vitesse and that is something you never forget,” van Wolfswinkel said upon signing. “After several foreign adventures I look forward to returning to the Dutch fields. I hope to find my niche and want to play well and add many goals and assists for Vitesse.”

Report: Arsenal continues to push for Lacazette transfer, readies another bid

LISBON, PORTUGAL - JULY 23:  Lyon's forward Alexandre Lacazette celebrates scoring Lyon«s goal during the Friendly match between Sporting CP and Lyon at Estadio Jose Alvalade on July 23, 2016 in Lisbon, Portugal.  (Photo by Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images)
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According to Friday’s edition of French publication L’Equipe, Arsenal is set to table yet another improved bid for Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette should the current one of $44 million be rejected.

The Gunners have spent little this transfer window, with the capture of Granit Xhaka their only incoming purchase thus far, and it has unsettled many supporters. The club has looked to calm those fears, going so far as to claim they are unable to spend big like many others across England, but on the inside they appear ready to spend for the French frontman.

Should Arsenal submit yet another bid for Lacazette, it would be their third. An initial bid for $39 million was rejected earlier this week, the Ligue 1 side announced on Wednesday.

“The reality is that the Arsenal made an offer of £30m,” the club confirmed in a statement, “which Olympique Lyonnais did not respond to for one reason only: OL wishes to keep Alexandre Lacazette because he is irreplaceable and one of the major leaders of Bruno Genesio’s group.”

The Frenchman scored 21 goals last season in Ligue 1 play, including 11 goals in the season’s final 10 games. His total haul was second in the league behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic‘s whopping 38.

It seems that, with this report out in public, Lyon would be silly to accept the new bid, given that Arsenal is likely to have another improved one soon to follow.

Europa League qualifying roundup: West Ham falls in Slovenia

NYON, SWITZERLAND - AUGUST 08:  The UEFA Europa League trophy is displayed during the 2014/15 UEFA Europa League Play-off round draw at the UEFA headquarters, The House of European Football on August 8, 2014 in Nyon, Switzerland.  (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)
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In what is often described as more of a distraction than anything for English teams, the Europa League third qualification round is under way, and a Premier League club is in danger of crashing out of the competition prior to the group stage for the third straight season.

West Ham fell 2-1 at NK Domzale, the third-placed finishers in the Slovenian league last season. Mark Noble grabbed an 18th-minute penalty, the only takeaway from an otherwise depressing road result. On the other side, 24-year-old Matic Crnic scored twice to put Domzale through.

Last season, the Hammers also dropped out of the competition in the third qualification round, to Romanian club Astra Giurgiu, although they had wins in the first and second rounds after entering the competition via fair play. In addition, Southampton also crashed out of last year’s Europa League in the playoff round to Danish side FC Mitdjylland. Hull City dropped out of the tournament two seasons ago in the playoff round.

West Ham has the opportunity to turn things around at home in a week as they host Domzale at the Olympic Stadium on Thursday, August 4 in what will be West Ham’s first competitive game in their new home.

Other notable scores from Europa League qualification include:

  • Lille 1-1 Gabala FC
  • Panathinaikos 1-0 AIK
  • Genk 1-0 Cork
  • Pandurii Targu Jiu 0-3 Maccabi Tel Aviv
  • Videoton 0-1 Midtjylland
  • Hertha BSC 1-0 Bronby
  • AZ Alkmaar 1-0 Giannina

Napoli chief calls Gonzalo Higuain a “traitor,” striker hits back

Argentinian striker Gonzalo Higuain shows the Juventus' jersey as he arrives in the team headquarters in Turin, Italy, Wednesday July 27, 2016. Italian champion Juventus said Tuesday it has signed  Higuain from Serie A rival Napoli for 90 million euros ($99 million). (Alessandro Di Marco/Ansa via Ap)
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Gonzalo Higuain’s summer move to Juventus has not come without bad blood.

When the 28-year-old striker moved from Naples to Turin thanks to Juventus activating his release clause, it left Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis with a sour taste in his mouth. “There are those who say that talk of betrayal is an exaggeration, but I think the opposite,” De Laurentiis told Corierre dello Sport. “Because, in this decision, there is the full sense of betrayal, which also includes ingratitude.”

“We never seriously thought he would leave. Nor that he would have erased in a flash the memories of his three years in Naples.”

That didn’t sit well with Higuain, who fired back that it was de Laurentiis who drove him out of his former club.

“It was my decision to leave, but it was [De Laurentiis] who pushed me into making it,” Higuain told the media at his Juventus unveiling. “I’d like to thank the fans and my teammates, but not De Laurentiis. I no longer had a relationship with him; I couldn’t stand another minute with him.”

Higuain was more celebratory about his time at Stadio San Paulo. “These have been three amazing years,” Higuain said, “and I can only say thanks for all the love I was given, but this was a decision I took for my own reasons. I can understand that they are angry with me and I’ve seen the insults, but it is something I had to do and I’m happy about it.”

Napoli visits Turin in Serie A play on October 30, while Juventus will not travel to Naples for the return fixture until early April of 2017.