Champions League - Paper Round: United helping City out of Europe

Wed, 30 Nov 09:08:00 2011

Manchester United are doing everything they can to see arch-rivals Manchester City dumped out of the Champions League, according to Wednesday's papers.

Manchester United's manager Alex Ferguson - 0

Alex Ferguson will let Bayern Munich use United's state-of-the-art Carrington training base to prepare for their clash with City next week, The Sun reports.

City need to beat Bayern - who have already qualified for the knock-out stages of the competition - to have a serious chance of making the last-16, though they also need Villarreal to break their sequence of five straight Champions League defeats when they face Napoli on the same night. With those odds, Bayern's choice of training ground might prove to be an irrelevance.

Andre Villas-Boas is all over today's back pages after admitting that Chelsea's level "is not good enough" following the 2-0 home defeat by Liverpool last night.

No wonder, then, that he's been linked with some big spending in January, with the Daily Mail claiming that his scouts have been keeping a close eye on Palermo's £25 million attacking midfielder Josip Ilicic.

Before Villas-Boas can improve Chelsea's fortunes, he may have to fend off suitors for some of his players: Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp is interested in signing Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Redknapp hailed the 32-year-old former Arsenal star as a "fantastic goalscorer" and conceded that it's "not a bad shout" to suggest that he could move to White Hart Lane in January as Spurs look to bolster their attack.

The Times, however, claims that it is another ageing Blues striker, Didier Drogba, who will be moving across London. Spurs have a strict salary cap of £70,000-a-week, but would be able to effectively match the Ivorian's £120,000-a-week demands by offering him a hefty signing-on bonus.

In yet more Chelsea striker news, recent Belgian signing Romelu Lukaku will not now go out on loan for the second half of the season as previously expected. The Sun reports that Villas-Boas wants to keep him at Stamford Bridge to cover for Drogba and Salomon Kalou in the new year when the duo head off to the African Cup of Nations.

The Daily Mirror says Steve Bruce is set to sit down with Sunderland owner Ellis Short to ask for January transfer funds, with Tottenham's Roman Pavlyuchenko and Wolfsburg's Papiss Cisse on his shortlist.

Yet The Sun reports that he might as well save his breath: Bruce is apparently "wasting his time" trying to save his job, according to Sunderland legend Gary Bennett in the paper, adding that, "it's inevitable he will go - the question is when and how".

Newcastle look set to be busy in January, with two signings on the horizon. The Daily Mail claims that Alan Pardew will finally sign Dutch international Erik Pieters on a £3m deal in the next transfer window. The left-back has been the subject of on-off rumours about a move for months, but it looks like it'll go ahead despite the player recently breaking a foot.

Meanwhile, the Mirror reports that the Magpies want to sign Celtic captain Scott Brown, who is in the middle of a contract dispute at Parkhead and will be allowed to walk away.

In a similar position is Lille striker Moussa Sow, who has put Arsenal "on alert", so the Mirror claims, after publicly stating that his contract negotiations have stalled and adding that he sees himself as a future Gooner: "I watch the games with envy on TV and I want to play there one day."

And finally, US international defender Tim Ream is being courted by both West Brom and Bolton, but may opt to remain at the New York Red Bulls instead, the Mail reports.

The reason given for this snub is that he wants to be guaranteed first team football. Yet we've a feeling that once he comes over to compare his current Manhattan lifestyle with what life would be like in Bolton or the Midlands, he might come up with one or two other reasons not to make the switch...


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