The Blues were heavily linked with the unsettled Red Devils idol for much of the summer and even saw multiple bids for his signature rejected, despite the player himself having been open to a move.
He has since settled his differences with the club and has been, arguably, United’s best performer this season under new boss David Moyes.
However, the Premier League champions have made no attempt to address Rooney’s contractual situation – his current deal expires in 2015 – opening the door for a swoop.
The Londoners are willing to spend big to lure the 28-year-old to Stamford Bridge with a huge contract, as Jose Mourinho continues his search for a top class striker to fire his side to domestic and European success.
Rooney’s value is likely to deplete over the coming transfer windows, and if United let him reach the end of the season on his current deal they run the risk of potentially losing him for free at the end of the following campaign.
Chelsea ended their summer bidding at £24m, but could be willing to go north of that figure next month.