Don't count Rooney's goals before they're scored

Last updated : 07 August 2013 By Frank Gorman

The latest figures surrounding Wayne Rooney’s potential transfer to Stamford Bridge involve fees nearing the £40 million range. It was clear from the start of the transfer season that the Blues were in the market for an established striker to solidify a front line led by the underwhelming duo of Fernando Torres and Demba Ba. Rooney had reported fallen out with Sir Alex Ferguson and was looking for a chance to regain his first team status with another side. With each big name striker that came off the table this transfer season, a Rooney move to Chelsea has only grown in sensibility. Despite what seems like an obvious fit, the Blues should have a few reservations about signing the disgruntled striker.

Make no mistakes, Rooney has certainly had some prolific seasons in front of goal. The 2011-12 season saw him score 27 Premier League goals in 32 appearances. His 2009-2010season saw a similar run of form, with 26 goals in 32 appearances. In both seasons he was named man of the match 8 times, and had over 150 shots (all stats from It is for seasons like this that Rooney is best known, but in between we see clearly how the valleys contrast the peaks. In both 2012-13 and 2010-2011, Rooney made 22 and 25 appearances and scored 12 and 11 EPL goals, respectively. This is a drastically different rate of production from the 11/12 and 09/10 seasonsOn average, a decrease in Rooney’s appearances by about 27% hascorrelated to a decline in goal scoring production of just over 56%. Even using shots per game, Rooney’s two low scoring seasons averaged 3.35 shots per game, compared to 5.1 in his two peak seasons.

So what does this all mean should Chelsea land Rooney? Well, as anyone would be quick to point out, he was not used in his preferred position last year, which could certainly account for a bit of this discrepancy. However, there seems to be a clear indicator that Rooney needs ampletime in front of net in order to produce at the prolific rate for which he is most often associated. This could be an issue considering Chelsea’s current stockpile at the position. Let’s say they sign Rooney, it certainly seems folly to retain Torres, Ba, and Lukaku. It also seems particularly clear that Lukaku is not going anywhere this season. So selling Torres or Ba would be the most pertinent move. Even if one of these players is sold, Lukaku desires first team football, and will command a few appearances of his own. The worry becomes apparent that if the number of Rooney’s appearances hovers closer to that 22-25 game range, the Blues might see a marginal return on that £40 million investment.

The last thing Stamford Bridge needs is another high priced striker with an injury history to struggle scoring goals. It may make more sense for the Blues to rely on their existing attacking talent (which is considerable, given the offseason midfield enhancements), and reassess the situation, which is particularly reliant on Lukaku’s development, come January.