United to continue record spending spree in January: Not content with having spent the most ever by an English club in one transfer window – over £150m – The Guardian reports Manchester United will continue to exercise their financial muscle by “carrying on big spending in January”. Jamie Jackson writes of Louis van Gaal: “The manager still wants to add a top-line central midfielder and central defender to his squad. In the winter window he hopes to buy Kevin Strootman if the Roma midfielder recovers from a serious knee injury that has ruled him out since March. Van Gaal will again consider moving for Mats Hummels, though there is a recognition that any transfer for the Borussia Dortmund central defender may be more likely to occur next summer rather than in mid-season.”
Paper Round’s view: The scale of United’s spending is truly staggering, but even after splashing out more than any English club ever has in such a short period of time, they have two glaring holes in their squad which must be filled. At £30m, Strootman would not come cheap - and Roma are desperate to hang on to one of their star players - but he could become a key man in Van Gaal’s team, while Hummels would be another superb addition. The fact United will have to spend more than £200m to get the squad they need shows how far it fell into disrepair under Ferguson.
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United’s new star wanted move to France: That’s the claim from Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, who says in the Mail that Angel Di Maria was keen to move to the Ligue 1 side from Real Madrid, with the deal only falling down due to Madrid’s asking price for the Argentina star. “Di Maria wanted to come to Paris but even without FFP (Financial Fair Play), we wouldn't have signed him," he said. “I do not know if Michel Platini wants to kill French football, but FFP is not fair.”
Paper Round’s view: So what? Di Maria has already said he didn’t want to leave Madrid, and maybe he did prefer a move to France, but what really matters is that he is dressed in red and ready to transform United. He was already the best player on the pitch in his first game for the club and is the kind of star to give his all, every game. United have a fantastic player and that’s all they need to care about.
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Courtois could sign new Chelsea deal this month: After edging Petr Cech aside to become Chelsea’s number one keeper, Thibaut Courtois is set to be rewarded with a new contract, according to the Daily Mail. Sami Mokbel writes: “The Stamford Bridge club want to follow up the news that key defender Cesar Azpilicueta has signed a new five-year deal by announcing an extension for Courtois. The Belgian's contract still has two years left to run but talks over a new five-year deal have been ongoing for several weeks.”
Paper Round’s view: Courtois is one of the world’s two best keepers, alongisde Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer, and Chelsea would do well to secure his long-term future. That appeared to be in some doubt if Mourinho had plumped for Cech instead of the Belgian, but with Courtois installed as first-choice talks should go smoothly from here.
Thibaut Courtois of Chelsea saves from David Nugent of Leicester City during the Barclays Premier League match …
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Liverpool set for wait over keeper target: Yesterday we brought you the news that Liverpool were intent on signing former Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes, who is available outside the transfer window due to the fact he is a free agent. The Daily Star says this morning that the deal could go through as late as December, as Brendan Rodgers only wants to sign the Spain international when he is fully fit.
Paper Round’s view: A cautious but understandable approach from Liverpool: a half-fit keeper is no good for them. But come December, they look to be welcoming one of the world’s very best keepers and the acquisition of Valdes on a free would be a stunning piece of business. Surely he would replace established number one Simon Mignolet in a matter of weeks.
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