EPL: Late-summer game of musical chairs quickens

EPL: Late-summer game of musical chairs quickens
United manager David Moyes about to send on Wayne Rooney as a substitute.

SINGAPORE/ENGLAND - Wayne Rooney might start on Manchester United's side against Chelsea Monday evening, and for all we know be a Chelsea player by the end of the week.

The transfer window and the European club season are now so out of kilter that August is a month that becomes almost a write-off in terms of any real gauge to the season ahead, never mind to any loyalty the fans dream of.

The one thing I can say to any supporter out there is don't buy that shirt until the window shuts.

"Wayne has a good chance of starting against Chelsea," his new manager David Moyes said this weekend. "It's the same message."

Fine. United hold his contract and, despite Jose Mourinho's continuous hints that Chelsea will try to change that until the last hours of the window, the Scot is sticking to his "Wayne going nowhere" mantra.

Meanwhile, United have not signed any of their summer targets. That clock is ticking, and Moyes himself is accused of offering "a derisory" £28 million (S$55.3 million) to his old club to sign Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini.

"If the right players are available, then great," Moyes said on Friday. "If not, then we will encourage our young players."

What encouragement that must be. Moyes sounds no better than Mourinho when it comes to "encouraging" the emerging players they already have.

"We all lie," the Portuguese has said. He meant it in the context of the transfer market shopping.

But if I were "young" Victor Moses, for example, or even a more mature Juan Mata, I would take some of what the manager says with a pinch of salt.

While on tour in the United States a couple of weeks ago, Mourinho held Moses up as the example to follow. The first in, last out at every training session, on the score-sheet in consecutive games pre-season, surely Moses was playing for his place.

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