Chelsea confirmed they want to buy Rooney, who is in dispute with United over comments made by manager David Moyes when he spoke to journalists in Bangkok last week.
However, they are furious at suggestions David Luiz or Juan Mata had been offered as makeweights in the deal. The Stamford Bridge outfit are certain United were responsible for that suggestion, which they insist was not true.
“Chelsea Football Club can today confirm that yesterday it made a written offer to Manchester United for the transfer of Wayne Rooney,” said Chelsea in a statement.
“Although the terms of that offer are confidential, for the avoidance of doubt and contrary to what is apparently being briefed to the press in Sydney, the proposed purchase does not include the transfer or loan of any players from Chelsea to Manchester United.”
There has actually been no suggestion that United — currently in Sydney as part of a pre-season tour — either confirmed the bid, or put the names of Mata and Luiz into the public domain.
For their part, the Blues believe Mata and Luiz — both still on their summer break after featuring in the Confederations Cup — are key to their long-term plans and want Rooney to be part of Jose Mourinho’s second coming.
It brings an additional twist to a story that is likely to rumble on for most of the summer. Last week, Mourinho expressed his admiration for Rooney.
But the offer has been made with the England striker back in Manchester for treatment on a hamstring injury and at a time when he is annoyed at the depiction by Moyes of him being a back-up for Robin van Persie.
So deep is his fury, sources claimed he was “angry and confused” about Moyes’ statement, it seems impossible his nine-year stay at Old Trafford can be salvaged.