Bundesliga - Paper Round: Klopp is Ferguson's successor in waiting

Manchester United have picked out Jurgen Klopp as the man to follow Sir Alex Ferguson, according to the Daily Mirror.

Premier League - Paper Round: Klopp is Ferguson's successor in waiting

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Jürgen Klopp

The paper claims to have the exclusive on news that Borussia Dortmund's manager is "at the top of the shop" - by which we assume they mean shortlist - "as Alex Ferguson's successor".

Apparently, Dortmund's success in reaching the Champions League final has had nothing to do with the choice: "He has been earmarked for some time, with insiders revealing it is openly discussed among Fergie’s staff that he is THE manager in waiting," the paper continues, adding that Ferguson himself thoroughly approves of the selection.

There is one potential fly in the ointment, however: with Ferguson still hoping that his retirement is a few years away, Red Devils chiefs are worried that Klopp will end up in a plum job elsewhere before a position is ready for him at Old Trafford, with it being "a major problem" if the 45-year-old moved on this summer.

The main back page headlines are, understandably, dominated by Chelsea's impressive come-from-behind win over Basel to make the final of the Europa League on Thursday night.

Victory is seen not just as a win for the Blues, but as a direct "ya-boo-sucks-to-you" from Rafa Benitez to Jose Mourinho.

"Did you see that Jose?" screams the back page of the Daily Mirror, while the Star trumpets "Rafa's final fling".

"Rafa Benitez claims he can still win the respect of Chelsea fans by signing off with the 11th major trophy of the Roman Abramovich era," the Star reports. "The interim Blues boss knows he will never be loved like Jose Mourinho at Stamford Bridge - but the Spaniard still insists he can still win some appreciation from the Chelsea faithful."

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The Times's Matt Hughes produces the best analysis of the morning in a long piece focusing on Benitez's redemption at Stamford Bridge after a nightmarish start to his temporary tenure and defeats in two semi-finals already this season.

"A third European final in the space of six years is a fitting reward for their competitive spirit," Hughes writes. "Much of the credit for that must go to Benítez, whose celebrations were more understated, but failed to disguise his delight. The Spaniard has made no secret of his desire to win a trophy to add to the pursuit of Champions League football and after three near-misses — losing in the Club World Cup final was perhaps the most bitter disappointment of the lot — he will have one more opportunity to leave the club on a high."

The one issue hanging over the Blues is what Benitez might have sacrificed in the league to put the most into their cup runs, but Hughes disputes that: "He has been castigated for selfishness, for emphasising the importance of trophies when Chelsea have a more pressing priority, but in reality he has merely bought into the culture of a club who expect to win everything. Benítez could do just that and never be accepted by many Chelsea fans, who at least preferred to sing the names of Roberto Di Matteo and Jose Mourinho than boo him last night, but some of their more fair-minded followers may finally acknowledge that he has done a decent job in difficult circumstances."

The Daily Telegraph's Paul Hayward has a very different - and far more negative - take on Benitez, focusing on his touchline antics: "Benítez looked like he was packing an imaginary box in a time-challenge set by the Royal Mail. Renowned for trying to play every ball and control each action by his players, Benítez is one of the most interventionist coaches in top-level management. His teams have a choice: spend the whole game looking for the next instruction or basically ignore the shouty bloke in the dark suit who aims to win games by himself, using 11 players as proxy."

While the rest of Fleet Street focuses on Chelsea's present, The Sun focuses on its future with a "world exclusive" that Mourinho will return to Stamford Bridge on July 1.

"Mourinho has agreed a sensational ret urn to Chelsea. But the Special One’s emotional comeback is unlikely to be officially announced until July 1. Until then both Chelsea and the outgoing Real Madrid chief will shy away from publicly confirming any deal is done," the paper reports.

"Barring any last-minute hitch, he will be back at Stamford Bridge on a £10 million-a-year package."

The key nugget of fact prompting for this news? Apparently Mourinho and Roman Abramovich, "were spotted having dinner at La Famiglia restaurant in Chelsea." Which obviously proves everything beyond a doubt!

If Mourinho comes back to Chelsea he will bring in Robert Lewandowski to bolster his squad, the Daily Mail claims.

The Daily Mail also reports that Tottenham, Manchester City and Arsenal are all interested in signing Gonzalo Higuain from Real Madrid, with the Spanish giants having confirmed they will sell the Argentina international.

Manchester United are keen on Borussia Dortmund's midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, who would cost £17m, while Turkish side Galatasaray are thought to be preparing a £12m offer for Arsenal forwards Lukas Podolski or Gervinho, according to the Daily Express.

And finally, the Metro reports that Bayern Munich were so keen to get to their post-match celebrations on Wednesday night that the team bus left Camp Nou without Javi Martinez on board:

"He returned to the dressing room to find everybody gone – and needed a cab to join up with the rest of his team. Like the Queen, seemingly professional footballers don’t carry money on them either – and Bayern officials had to sort out payment for the taxi on behalf of the midfielder."

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