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“If for any reason we had an injury to Robin van Persie, we are going to need him, and I want as many options as possible,” Moyes said on the weekend.

Rooney returned home from United’s tour of Asia last week with a hamstring injury that the club says will keep him out until August.

Before Chelsea made its bid, Mourinho publicly lavished praise on Rooney and said England’s 2014 World Cup hopes could be jeopardized if first-team opportunities are limited at United.

“If Wayne is a second choice for Man United, then the national team will be affected,” Mourinho told the BBC on Tuesday.

Adding to the intrigue, United vice chairman Ed Woodward flew back early to England from the Australian leg of the club’s preseason tour to conduct undisclosed transfer business.