Premier League - Paper Round: City's £40m move for Bale
Manchester City are to make a £40 million bid to sign Tottenham's Gareth Bale, according to Friday's papers.
The Daily Mirror reports that City owner Sheikh Mansour has already agreed to fund the deal, which would likely be a cash-plus-player swap. Emmanuel Adebayor - who is already on loan at Spurs from City - is one of the players who would be heading in the opposite direction, but City would also be ready to offer either Nigel de Jong or Adam Johnson.
Spurs would understandably be reluctant to sell their most prized asset, but City are hoping to force a deal through by offering Bale a five-year deal worth a staggering £30 million. That huge offer - which would more than triple the Welshman's current wages - in tandem with Bale's recent confirmation that he will consider his future should Spurs fail to make the Champions League suggest that this deal is a definite possibility.
One player now looking increasingly unlikely to join Manchester City, however, is Robin van Persie: the Daily Express reports that City have valued the Dutch striker at £20m, a fee that Arsenal would "never accept" despite the fact that the 28-year-old is close to the end of his contract.
This, and the report that Real Madrid is not an option since the Van Persie clan are happy in England, casts further doubt on the player's future, particularly given his speech on Thursday night after picking up one of his many gongs. Van Persie said, with as strong a note of fond farewell as can be imagined, that "whatever happens with me I will always be a Gunner".
Most England managers get a healthy honeymoon period to settle in, but it seems that Roy Hodgson will not be so lucky as several papers appear to have already declared war on the new boss.
The Sun continue a three-day run of insulting Hodgson, dedicating their entire back page to the giant headline "ROY WHO?", on the back of the 'news' that Germany star Bastian Schweinsteiger doesn't know Roy Hodgson.
Readers who make it as far as paragraph six will discover that the headline is a total lie, since the Bayern Munich star was not saying that he hasn't heard of Hodgson, merely that he doesn't know much about him compared to what he knows of Sun columnist (and there's the key) Harry Redknapp and Tottenham.
The Daily Telegraph goes with the exact same headline for the same quotes, though not all over the back page and not in 144 point type: "Roy who? Germans cast doubt on appointment of Hodgson."
The Times and the Daily Mail also get in on the act, running interviews with Fabio Capello which they lead with the Italian effectively saying that Hodgson has no chance of success with England since "it's difficult to create something. You can't do something in a short space of time".
Capello adds that, in the style of ageing action heroes in cheesy Hollywood movies, he is keen to have one more management job before retiring - and he is desperate for it to be in the Premier League. The Times piece rather unsubtly pictures the former Real Madrid boss next to a London road sign which clearly reads 'Borough of Chelsea'.
If the Daily Mail is to be believed, Capello has no chance of landing the Chelsea job since Roman Abramovich "is refusing to give up on his dream" of reappointing Jose Mourinho to take charge at Stamford Bridge.
The Daily Star claims that Mourinho has firmly ruled a move out, however, dedicating its back page to the news that 'Jose snubs Blues', claiming that the Portuguese boss has already turned down the Russian oil tycoon.
And finally, back to Capello's interview with The Times for this gem in which one of the most celebrated managers in recent footballing history bleats like a frustrated teenager about how it's not fair, it's just not fair: "The only thing I will never forget is the (disallowed Frank Lampard) goal we scored against Germany. It was at a moment when we were improving, and if the referee had said the goal was okay, I think it would have changed everything."