Liga - Paper Round: Chelsea hold secret talks over Falcao

Chelsea have held secret talks with Atletico Madrid over a summer transfer of Radamel Falcao, according to a report in Thursday's papers.

Liga - Chelsea in pole position for Falcao

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Atletico Madrid's Radamel Falcao (Reuters)

The Daily Express claims the club are "inching closer" to landing "one of the most feared strikers in Europe".

That "inching" apparently consists of a clandestine meeting between the clubs in Madrid on Sunday, something that the Express picked up from a Spanish TV station.

Sadly, no footage has yet emerged of Roman Abramovich, Rafa Benitez and Diego Simeone wearing false moustaches, dark glasses and trilbys while scurrying into an unmarked door around the back of the Plaza Mayor.

As for the player himself? He is said to be happy to go - no doubt the £10 million-a-year wages said to be on offer have helped persuade him that it's a good move.

Manchester City look set to lose one of their most prized assets in the summer as Sergio Aguero wants to leave, according to the Daily Star.

The paper reports that City "face a losing battle" to keep their record signing at the Etihad, with Real Madrid apparently desperate to land the Argentine with a £45m bid.

Apparently his domestic woes are at the heart of the matter: "Aguero is becoming disillusioned with life in Manchester following the break-up of his marriage to Diego Maradona’s daughter Giannina," the paper reports.

"Giannina now spends most of her time in Madrid with the couple’s son Ben, and Aguero has told close friends he is finding it 'impossible' to be apart from him."

Most of the back pages lead with Luis Suarez's quotes - which are also the top story on our website - in which he effectively says that he'd be quite happy to talk to teams in the Champions League.

Suarez made his statement back in his homeland of Uruguay ahead of a World Cup qualifier against Peru - and while most papers stick fairly closely to what the Liverpool star actually said ("Open to offers" is the Times headline while the Mirror goes with "Suarez shock"), there's one paper which goes that bit further.

Quite a lot further, actually: step forward the Daily Star, proving once again that 2+2=78 as their headline proclaims "I'm off!", alongside a picture of the striker.

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Following yesterday's report that Yaya Toure is threatening to leave Manchester City unless he is given a new contract, Thursday's Sun reports that Chelsea and Real Madrid are keen to pick up the £220,000-a-week midfielder.

Such a move would lead to a big windfall for the player - even if he has to buy out the last two years of his contract in order to force a move.

"Chelsea will hand him that in a signing-on fee if it means they do not have to pay a transfer fee for a player who cost City £25m from Barcelona three years ago," the paper writes. "But they face stiff competition from Real Madrid, whose boss Jose Mourinho is a huge fan of Toure."

Strangely, the same paper reports in a separate story that Manchester City will fight to keep Toure, which seems to throw the whole idea of his leaving out of the window: the contract buy-out rules only apply to players aged over 28 and who have not been offered a new contract in the last three years.

The Daily Mirror reports that the Liverpool and Manchester United are to enter a "transfer tug of war" over Vasco de Gama's 24-year-old defender Dede.

Debt-laden Vasco have said it is "inevitable" that they will cash in on the player this summer, with the international star thought to be worth about £15 million.

The two Premier League sides are not the only teams in, however: Juventus and Benfica are also said to be keen.

And finally, Reading are set to give Brighton manager Gus Poyet the job as new boss, several papers report. The Daily Express claims that Poyet will be given a hefty transfer war chest to be spend regardless of whether he keeps the club in the Premier League or not.

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