Rooney hits out at critics: Scholes had suggested that Rooney is past his best and that his recent form has put him at risk of being dropped for England's World Cup opener against Italy, prompting a "stinging rebuke" (Daily Mirror) from the England striker. A "furious" Rooney is "stunned" (the Sun) that Scholes has publicly criticised him and insisted he is fit and ready to play a major part in the Three Lions' campaign in Brazil. Rooney also said he has no problems playing in a left-sided role for England.
Paper Round's view: At the age of 28, there is little evidence to suggest that Rooney is past his best. A slump in form, yes, but to dismiss him in such a final way does seem a little over zealous of Scholes. He has plenty more years in him to rediscover past glories, although whether this World Cup has come too soon for that, only time will tell. Either way though, it's good to see Rooney riled by the criticism and it may yet spark him into some degree of form in Brazil.
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City target prefers United: Manchester City's top summer target Eliaquim Mangala has told friends he would rather join Manchester United, according to the Daily Mirror. City are willing to pay Porto £36.5m to trigger the defender's release clause, but the France international is reluctant to agree to the move because he thinks United and Chelsea are bigger clubs. United, however, are not too keen on the player and have reservations about his temperament, leaving Chelsea as frontrunners to pick him up.
Paper Round's view: It's amazing what a couple of 'friends' can do for a move. The odds on Mangala being welcomed at City after this story aren't great - imagine a player signing for them after having said he preferred to go to Old Trafford? It makes the deal rather untenable, although perhaps City would be better off passing on him anyway, given these apparent reservations about his temperament. And anyway, can Premier League champions City be classed as that much 'smaller' a club than United at the moment?
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Chelsea table £27m for Fabregas: The Daily Express takes the above interest to the next level, claiming that Chelsea have actually tabled a bid for the Barcelona midfielder. On a "frantic day" of business at Stamford Bridge, Jose Mourinho's bid for Fabregas came after Diego Costa passed a medical and as the Blues are trying to tie up a deal for the striker's Atletico Madrid team-mates Filipe Luis and Tiago. Chelsea are hoping to conclude a deal for Fabregas in the next few days, with a £200,000-a-week contract on the table, the paper claims.
Paper Round's view: The Express is the only paper to go this far and the leap they take is rather difficult to believe considering Mourinho's comments. He specifically said: "Before the World Cup I don't think it is something for that but there is a process where he wants to leave, he wants to come to England because it is the country he prefers to be, prefers to play and we are interested in monitoring the situation." So a bid tabled yesterday is unlikely, even if one will come once the World Cup has finished.
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Hazard set for bumper pay rise: Chelsea are ready to offer Eden Hazard a pay rise to keep him from the clutches of Paris Saint Germain. The Daily Mail reports that with PSG's interest in the Belgium international clear, the Blues will offer a new deal that will see his current £170,000-per-week deal rise to nearer £200,000. The report claims that Chelsea hope the statement of intent of extended terms will be enough to keep Hazard at Stamford Bridge.
Paper Round's view: Offering such a wage deal can only be a statement of intent at best, because whatever Chelsea table, moneybags PSG will be able to better. So if Hazard is only interested in money, Chelsea should admit defeat already. The hope is, of course, that there is enough at Chelsea to keep the exciting talent at Stamford Bridge and that is what Jose Mourinho must try to prove once Hazard gets back from the World Cup.
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Everton open Lukaku talks: Everton have opened talks with Chelsea over another deal for striker Romelu Lukaku, according to the Daily Mail. Demand for the Belgian is high and he has been offered to Atletico Madrid and six other clubs are interested. But Everton, where he spent last season on loan, are keen on taking him again. Lukaku has said that his future is likely to be decided after the World Cup.
Paper Round's view: Lukaku clearly enjoyed his time at Goodison Park last season yet another season or more on Merseyside may well come down to who Chelsea want to poach from Atletico Madrid. Mourinho is reportedly keen on a number of Atleti players, and Lukaku would be the perfect bargaining tool for what he wants. A move to Spain would hardly damage Lukaku's development either.
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