The Stamford Bridge club are set to pounce amid claims that Rooney is growing increasingly unsettled at United.

The England striker is said to be angry at suggestions that he will have to prove his worth over the next 12 months before the club will ­discuss a new deal.

Rooney, whose existing contract only has two years to run, is also thought to be confused, with suggestions he is to play second fiddle to Robin van Persie with Japanese star Shinji Kagawa set for the role behind the former Arsenal striker, a position Rooney favours.

Rooney flew back from United’s tour of the Far East and Australia last week with the club claiming he had a hamstring injury.

That came 24 hours after new boss David Moyes said he had been training well.

Moyes insists the Three Lions star is not for sale, but Rooney has failed to say he does not want to leave.

Chelsea have held off making an official bid, despite claims personal terms have been agreed with Rooney’s camp and tentative talks have been held between the clubs about the prospect of a sale.

Chelsea appear to want Rooney to force the issue by making United accept he has no future at the club.

They also seem desperate to come out of the transfer ‘clean’ and not look like they have turned his head.

Rooney’s future has been under intense speculation, triggered initially by Sir Alex Ferguson leaving him out of the Champions League knockout clash with Real Madrid in March.

Ferguson later claimed Rooney had asked to leave, something the player denies.