Bale to cost 'one euro more than CR7': Or at least so claims Spanish newspaper Marca on their front page, who say that the deal to bring Bale to Real Madrid is now a question of honour. Madrid 'up their offer' to €93m - which works out to around £80m - the paper adds, before saying that Tottenham are holding out to beat the record set by the Cristiano Ronaldo purchase in 2009. That figure is reported by Marca as being €96m. Perhaps most ominously, they conclude that "the signing could be done in a question of days".
Paper Round's view: If Real Madrid have made a formal, uncomplicated offer around £80m for Bale, then Tottenham have a genuine dilemma on whether to sell their star player, particularly if the player is also keen on the move. But Spurs are no strangers to brinkmanship, so they will not be panicking at the implied deadline "in a question of days". That said, this story emanates from Marca, who in the summer are often little more than a sounding board for Real Madrid, testing the water and seeing whether a key Madrid target is 'gettable'. However far along a bid for Bale is, imagine that the paper is a few steps ahead of the club.
- - -
Bale tells Spurs he wants to leave: The Sun go big on quotes which have emanated from Marca, after Real Madrid had an official world-record £81 million bid rejected by Tottenham, the paper claims. Bale apparently telling Spurs chairman Daniel Levy: “You made me a promise. You promised me if we didn’t qualify for the Champions League and a good offer turned up you’d listen to it.” The paper adds that Bale met with Levy and made it clear he no longer sees his future at White Hart Lane with relationships between the player and the board having become strained.
Paper Round's view: Sometimes when there's no news, newspapers will bring you yesterday's foreign news today, so Saturday's big splash in The Sun is really only yesterday's rumblings from Spain. Quite how the pro-Madrid Marca managed to get these quotes from a meeting between Bale and Levy is a mystery, but what is for sure is that their leaking does Real's pursuit of the player no harm at all. Make up your own minds as to their authenticity - or, even better, watch Friday's Euro Papers where we make your own mind up for you.
- - -
City to top £100m with Pepe capture: Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini refused to confirm or deny his interest in Pepe, but that hasn't stopped the Daily Mirror speculating that the Real Madrid defender will be the one to take City's summer expenditure past the £100m mark. City have already spent £92.3m on four players in recent weeks, but £15m-rated Pepe remains on the radar.
Paper Round's view: City certainly need to plug the gap left by Kolo Toure's departure, and Pepe fits the bill. And with Pellegrini indicating the club are willing to sanction continued spending - and over a month to do so before the window shuts - this deal could well go through.
- - -
Suarez told to forget £40m Arsenal move: The Daily Mirror reports that Luis Suarez has sat down with Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre for "heart-to-heart" talks, during which the club insisted that they do not have to sell for £40m, despite Arsenal's cheeky £40m-plus-a-pound bid which is thought to have triggered a clause in the Uruguayan's contract.
Paper Round's view: Another day, another Suarez 'development'. Increasingly it looks like Arsenal will have to stump up more than £40m, but with the player still yet to hand in an official transfer request, any deal is treading water at the moment.
- - -
City rebuff offers for Kolorov and Dzeko: Manchester City have rebuffed enquiries from Galatasaray and Juventus for left-back Aleksandar Kolarov and are keen to hold onto striker Edin Dzeko amid interest from Tottenham, according to the Daily Mail. Both players want more playing time, the paper reports, having more often than not found themselves on the bench towards the end of Roberto Mancini's reign last season.
Paper Round's view: It's easy to see why Pellegrini wants to hang on to the pair, considering their value to the squad - particularly Dzeko, who netted 14 times in the league last season, despite starting just 16 times. With Mario Balotelli and Carlos Tevez gone, the Bosnian may fancy his chances next season; Kolorov less so and a move elsewhere for him is the more likely of the two.
- - -
Moyes told to forget about Fabregas: Another of this summer's longest transfer sagas, Manchester United boss David Moyes has been told - again - to forget about signing Cesc Fabregas. This time, the Daily Express reports on its back page, it is new Barcelona boss Gerardo Martino and club vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu who have warned off the Premier League champions, who have already had two bids for the Spain midfielder turned down.
Paper Round's view: The same as yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that: let's wait until Fabregas gets back to training and see what the player himself has to say.
- - -
Chelsea sweat over Traore exit: Chelsea are becoming increasingly anxious that they could lose 17-year-old midfielder Bertrand Traoré, according to The Independent. The report says that the Burkina Faso international is effectively a free agent and with Chelsea unable to hand him a professional contract until his 18th birthday in September, he could go elsewhere in the next six weeks.
Paper Round's view: Chelsea are in the process of applying to the Home Office for a work permit for the youngster, but the paper reports that the club are not confident of succeeding. In such a case, Chelsea would not be able to give him first-team football, and in theory he could move on to another club that would be able to.
- - -
- Sports & Recreation
- Real Madrid
- Paper Round