Agger in tears as he asks to leave: Dan Agger broke down during an emotional heart-to-heart with Brendan Rodgers, during which the defender asked to leave Liverpool. That's right: the Daily Mirror reports that the 29-year-old centre-back was "distraught" as he told the Reds boss of his intentions in a dressing-room exchange on the pre-season tour of the US, and was reduced to such a snuffling mess that "he broke down and had to be consoled by senior members of the squad." Agger will now be sold - possibly for his namby-pambyness rather than anything else - with Barcelona hot favourites to land him.
Paper Round's view: This move has been on the cards for some while now, even before the arrival of Dejan Lovren from Southampton. Agger's chances of playing regular first-team football at Anfield next season are slim, and if the club can get £12m for Barca for him, all parties win. Interestingly, what it may also do is clear the way for United to land Vermaelen, with the Catalan club's interest in the Belgian to end if they get Agger.
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Liverpool and United hope over Reus: The Daily Mail claims that Marco Reus could join Liverpool or Manchester United for as little as £19.8 million after details of his release clause were leaked. The Germany star was thought to command a fee of around £30m, effectively pricing Liverpool out of any move, but the leak has come as a boost to the Merseyside club. The clause becomes effective next summer and interested clubs have been told he will be available for a knockdown fee.
Paper Round's view: A boost for Liverpool and United, certainly, but also for a wealth of tops clubs across Europe who will have designs on the now-affordable Borussia Dortmund forward, even if they didn't before German newspaper Bild leaked the details of the clause. Bayern Munich and Real Madrid (inevitably) have also been linked to the Germany star, but they can be expected to be joined by every other man and his dog next summer.
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United prepared to stump up for Vermaelen: Manchester United are prepared to pay £15m to beat Barcelona to the signature of Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen, reports the Daily Mail. With Arsenal preferring to sell the Belgian to the Spanish club, United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward accepts he will have to pay a premium price to bring in the World Cup star before the start of the Premier League season. United manager Louis van Gaal is also keen to wrap up a deal for Ajax wing-back Daley Blind before the campaign opener against Swansea on August 16.
Paper Round's view: It makes sense that United are willing to pay slightly over the odds to get their man - the new season is fast approaching and Van Gaal is yet to replace Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand in the centre of defence. He already has cover in that position, but new blood like Vermaelen would not only add some quality to his squad, but also help raise the games of his current players.
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Kompany set for monster deal: Manchester City are set to offer captain Vincent Kompany £65m to stay at the club, reports the Sun. The Premier League champions want the Belgian to sign a new six-year deal worth £200,000 a week. Increased bonuses, worth around £5m, would see Kompany pull in the staggering amount up to the age of 34. City are set to seal the signing of Eliaquim Mangala, but are keen to show Kompany he is still their number one defender.
Paper Round's view: £32m on Mangala, a £65m deal for Kompany - City's spending knows no bounds. There's no doubting that Kompany is an inspiration to his team-mates and a brilliant player, but you can't help but think the world has gone mad when talking about these sums. And we're not even talking about strikers here! Still, since we've lost all perspective, if there is one defender who might warrant such ridiculous wages, it's Kompany.
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Real Madrid to move for Cech: Chelsea have refused to guarantee Petr Cech a regular starting slot for next season, prompting Real Madrid to prepare a move for the goalkeeper. The Times reports that the European champions will step up their efforts to sign Cech if Thibaut Courtois starts the season as Chelsea's number one.
Paper Round's view: Jose Mourinho has insisted that both will stay, even if one of them asks to leave, but that eventuality is difficult to believe, given both will expect first-team football on a regular basis. Also, with the likes of Madrid (Cech) and Barcelona (both Cech and Courtois) keen on the keepers, there will be no shortage of options to cash in on either player. Expect one of them gone before the closing of the transfer window. Which one goes will likely depend on performances between now and then.
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Spurs close on Depay: Tottenham are closing in on PSV Eindhoven's Dutch World Cup winger Memphis Depay with a player-plus-cash deal accepted, reports the Daily Express. Spurs will pay £10m with Nacer Chadli thrown in as a makeweight to bring the overall value of the deal to £15m.
Paper Round's view: Just like Chadli when he made the move from the Eredivisie last summer, Depay is a gamble for Mauricio Pochettino. Chadli didn't pay off and there are no guarantees Depay will either, but after an impressive World Cup campaign, he's at least worth a punt. And if it doesn't work out for him, Spurs could always trade him in for the next Eredivisie star in 12 months time.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Vincent Kompany
- Real Madrid
- Manchester United
- Thomas Vermaelen