‘Barcelona line up Rodgers as next boss’ - Barcelona are keeping a close eye on contract talks between Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers and are ready to pounce this summer, so say The People. Barca coach Martino is likely to leave in the summer and the Spaniards see Rodgers as a front-runner to replace him, the paper reports. As a Spanish speaker with such an impressive record at Liverpool, chiefs at the Catalan giants are anxious to bring him in this summer to add a progressive tactical approach to freshen up the side.
Paper Round’s view: Rodgers has done a remarkable job during his 20 months at Anfield but enters the final year of his three-season deal this summer. So far the Reds' Boston-based owners have appeared slow to start talks on a fresh agreement; and there is no question that Rodgers is greatly admired on the continent given his fine work in turning Liverpool back into genuine title contenders this season. Would he leave Anfield, though? It seems unlikely, but what coach could turn down the chance to work with Lionel Messi? Either way, rumours such as this will only add to his stock and ensure a nice pay rise if and when he commits his future to Liverpool.
‘Pogba snubs United yet again’ – Pogba has again snubbed United after being handed yet another chance to return to Old Trafford, reports the Daily Mirror. David Moyes has made several personal checks on Juventus’ 20-year-old French international, and United were ready to offer more than £35 million for a player who left the Old Trafford giants after refusing to sign a new contract in 2012. But Pogba now has set his heart on joining Real Madrid, which comes as a fresh blow to Moyes who is clearly desperate to land a big-name, influential midfielder.
Paper Round’s view: He left Old Trafford after accusing Sir Alex Ferguson of failing to give him enough first-team action - he made just three substitute appearances in the League Cup and Europa League – so why exactly would he entertain a return to the club he did not enjoy being at? Real legend Zinedine Zidane, who is now the club’s sporting director, has reportedly launched a huge charm offensive to take Pogba to the Bernabeu and he certainly is one of the hottest properties around. His efforts appear to have been rewarded with these reports that the midfielder would prefer a move to La Liga ahead of another crack at the Premier League.
‘Liverpool ready to move for Ajax duo’ - Liverpool boss Rodgers is reportedly plotting a raid for exciting Ajax starlets Joel Veltman and Davy Klassen at the end of the season. The Reds manager is already drawing up a shortlist of fresh young talent that he wants to bring to Anfield this summer, and football website caughtoffside.com reports that he has placed the two Ajax youngsters at the top of his shopping list. Veltman has already been attracting interest from United but he is understood to be keen to work with Rodgers at Liverpool. And Rodgers has also been impressed with the performances of attacking midfielder Davy Klaassen and will also look to see about including him in any deal that can be struck for Veltman.
Paper Round’s view: Like Veltman, Klaassen made his way through the famed youth ranks at the Amsterdam club and broke through into the first team in 2011. However, it wasn’t until this season that he began to establish himself – finding a rich vein of form in the process by notching up nine goals in 26 appearances. It looks as though this summer would be a good time for him to make a move to a top club in the Premier League and Rodgers is regarded as the ideal coach around to work with starlets such as the pair.
‘Mourinho demands Courtois signs new deal’ – Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has demanded that goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois signs a new deal at the club and is pushing hard to get him re-established at the club, reports the Daily Express. Courtois, who is wanted across Europe after his consistently superb displays, is in his third season with Atletico Madrid, but is due to return to Chelsea this summer. Courtois has been linked with a move to Real Madrid, but Chelsea are now set to move quickly and decisively to ensure that his future lies at Stamford Bridge.
Paper Round’s view: Courtois’s contract at Stamford Bridge is set to expire in 2016 and it makes perfect sense that the Blues would be keen to see the 21-year-old put pen-to-paper on fresh terms. Reports in Spain claim Mourinho will only allow Courtois to spend another season out on loan if he extends his contract with the west London club. The Belgian international is understood to be interested in another season on loan at Atletico, if Petr Cech continues as Jose Mourinho's first-choice keeper.
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