Premier League - Paper Round: Abramovich steps in to hijack Willian for Chelsea

Chelsea look set to poach Willian from Tottenham Hotspur; Newcastle in bullish mood over Yohan Cabaye; plus the rest of the day's stories.

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Premier League - Paper Round: Abramovich steps in to hijack Willian for Chelsea
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Abramovich

Chelsea launch late bid to scupper Spurs’ Willian deal: The Daily Mirror reports that Roman Abramovich stepped in personally to call Anzhi’s Russian oligarch owner Suleyman Kerimov to derail Tottenham’s pursuit of Willian at the last minute. Chelsea had looked set to secure the services of the Brazilian and had even had a medical at the north London club. But instead Abramovich phoned Kerimov to offer him £32 million for Willian, a £2m improvement on the Spurs offer, in a bid to trump the White Hart Lane club.

Paper Round’s view: There is increasing panic at White Hart Lane that Willian might be about to slip through their fingers, and understandably anger at Chelsea’s audacious swoop. It does look increasingly likely that the Blues will succeed with their late bid: after all, why would any player choose to go to Spurs or Liverpool when title-and-European glory contenders Chelsea come calling? Spurs will have to hope that the Brazilian himself will nix the deal out of fear that a move to Stamford Bridge might mean spending the season on the bench in a World Cup year.

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Liverpool enter market for “new Arjen Robben”: The Daily Express reports that Liverpool are preparing a bid for Serbian teenager Richairo Zivkovic. The 16-year-old, who has been dubbed the new Arjen Robben for his silky skills, holds joint Dutch nationality and caught lots of attention in December last season when he became the youngest player ever to turn out for Eredivisie side Groningen, at the age of 16.

Paper Round’s view: Liverpool could do with a big signing to take attention away from the fact that a seemingly done deal for Willian has evaporated in the face of interest from bigger clubs. But will bringing in a 16-year-old really be a positive addition, regardless of how talented he might be? They face competition from other Eredivise clubs but seem to be leading the race to secure the teenagers signature. “All the big clubs in the Netherlands are interested in him but Liverpool scouts are particularly active,” Groningen president Hans Nijland is quoted as saying in Serbian newspaper Blic. “They are constantly watching us.”

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Liverpool prepare to reject Suarez bid: The Guardian claims that Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is steeling himself for a late bid for Luis Suarez from Real Madrid. Owner John W Henry stated two weeks ago that the Uruguayan is not for sale this summer and Rodgers has been keen to reiterate the statement. Asked if he expected Real to formalise their interest with an offer before the transfer window deadline of September 2, the Liverpool manager admitted that it could happen and that it would be disastrous: "It is what it is, and we will deal with it like we have during the summer... If we lose Luis at this stage it would be difficult to replace him. There might have been a point a few months ago where there was time to do it but with 11 days to go it would be difficult to replace him."

Paper Round’s view: Liverpool will be desperate not to let Suarez go at this stage after fighting tooth and nail all summer to keep him. Rodgers has endured a disappointing summer so far in the transfer window, missing out on a number of high-profile signings including Willian for financial reasons, and simply cannot afford to let Suarez go, even if he does bring trouble with him. Yet if the player persists being disruptive then a sale to a club outside the Premier League would be the lesser of the evils.

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Newcastle to keep Cabaye “against his wishes” if bid not right: The Daily Telegraph writes that wantaway midfielder Yohan Cabaye has been told that he will have to stay at Newcastle unless a club bids at least £20m for his services. Newcastle, and boss Alan Pardew in particular, were furious over Arsenal’s £10.2m bid for Cabaye late on Monday and has now issued an ultimatum to clubs seeking to sign the Frenchman.

Paper Round’s view: This summer has seen a number of clubs attempt to take back the power from footballers and their agents and Pardew seems especially bullish over the Cabaye issue, stating he is “not resigned” to losing the player. “Because you cannot go on a forecourt of a car showroom and say to the dealership: ‘Here is what my valuation is and I’m just going to drive off with the car.’ It does not work like that,” Pardew is quoted as saying in the Telegraph. "You have to agree and only then can you drive it off. We have had one bid and it was not acceptable. The most important thing about this whole scenario is that the club wins, no one else. I am manager of this football club and will do what is best for the club.” We'd be inclined to take Pardew at his word: Newcastle have been consistent overperformers in transfer market strategy over the past few seasons, and they're likely to run rings around the people running Arsenal's transfer dealings.

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