Paper Round: Pep to meet Roman

Chelsea may yet get their wish to bring in Pep Guardiola as the new manager, according to Wednesday's papers.


Contrary to Tuesday's reports that the former Barcelona coach will take a year-long sabbatical in New York with his family, The Sun reports that Guardiola now wants a face-to-face meeting with Roman Abramovich to hear from the horse's mouth what is on offer at Stamford Bridge should he shelve his plans to put his feet up for 12 months.

Guardiola would become one of the best-paid coaches in the world if he takes the job, but the true dealbreakers have nothing to do with money: among the assurances and enticements being dangled in front of Guardiola is a guarantee that there will be no pressure at all to win trophies in his first two seasons in charge, thus allowing him time to reshape the club from the ground up.

And a Chelsea source tells the paper that the Russian oil tycoon will do whatever it takes at the face-to-face meeting to bring Guardiola on board: "If it takes a big meeting with Abramovich to get the deal done, that's what must happen," the source said.

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The other big management job currently vacant is at Liverpool, and speculation is mounting that the Reds will make a fresh approach to Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers after Roberto Martinez declined their offer to take over the running of the first team at Anfield.

Just about every paper in the country - among them The Sun, the Daily Telegraph, Daily Mirror and the Daily Mail - claim that the Northern Irishman is odds-on to land the job, with the Mail claiming that Rodgers will be installed by the end of the week.

The Times strikes a note of caution, warning that it will all come down to whether Swansea want to cash in on the £5 million compensation clause written into the former Chelsea coach's contract.

None of this means that Martinez will stay at Wigan, however: the Telegraph reports that despite the Spaniard's talks with Liverpool breaking down he is still off, with Aston Villa to step in and make him an offer he can't refuse.

The manager's job at West Brom isn't so much a hotseat as a lukewarm stool, but that job looks set to be taken as well with the Daily Mail reporting that former Stuttgart and Schalke coach Ralf Rangnick is to take over following previous boss Roy Hodgson's elevation to the England role.

Over on the continent Gazetta delle Sport report that Manchester City will make a move to sign Wesley Sneijder from Inter Milan.

City are apparently a bit sore on missing out on Eden Hazard, and want to land the Dutch star to be their marquee signing this summer to ensure they keep up their momentum from last season. No doubt the fact that Sneijder has been coveted by Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson for two years will come into the decision as well.

Tottenham are to try to sign Demba Ba from Newcastle United by expoiting the striker's release clause, according to the Telegraph.

The Senegal star was one of the revelations of last season after arriving from West Ham on a free transfer last summer, and Spurs are considering making a £7m bid which would automatically allow the 26-year-old to leave. Considering that his barnstorming season more or less ground to a halt when Papiss Cisse arrived at St James' Park in the January transfer window, there is every chance that it'll be bye-bye Ba.

The Telegraph reports that Porto have given permission for Hulk's agent to speak to Chelsea about a potential £40m move, with the 25-year-old Brazilian - who scored 21 league goals last season - apparently set on a move away from Portugal.

In other transfer gossip Sunderland are keen on signing Adam Johnson from Manchester City (Daily Mirror), Premier League new boys Reading will have a £15m transfer war chest this summer after the club was taken over by Russian tycoon Anton Zingarevich (The Sun), West Ham are to talk to former Bolton goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen (Daily Mail), Everton want to sign Peterborough's £2m-rated forward Paul Taylor (The Sun), Newcastle are scouting Lille right-back Mathieu Debuchy (Daily Mail), Fulham are making a new bid to sign Belgian winger Nacer Chadli from FC Twente for around £9m (The Sun) and Ledley King will be offered a one year, pay-as-you-play deal by Tottenham (Daily Mirror).

And finally, the Daily Star's front page carries a truly madcap story claiming that Polish police snipers have been instructed to gun down fans who riot during matches at Euro 2012.

It's not so much the clearly untrue story - seriously - but the picture that illustrates it which tickled us, which purportedly shows an image of a masked thug brandishing a knife. We'd bet good money that the 'Polish thug' is actually one of the Star's staffers with a pair of old underpants on his head wielding a kitchen knife bought from Wilkinson's for £3.99.

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