Rooney concern over LVG-RVP axis: Several papers report that Wayne Rooney is set to lose the captain's armband if Louis van Gaal takes over at Old Trafford. The Dutchman has a close relationship with compatriot Robin van Persie and it is thought that he intends to install the Holland international as his skipper rather than Rooney, who had expected to take over once Nemanja Vidic leaves in the summer. This could lead to anything from "fear" and "upset" to "captaincy agony" and "shattered dreams" for Rooney, depending on which paper you read. Rooney is also concerned over the way Van Gaal could use him, with Van Persie likely to be used as United's first-choice striker. The last time that happened, Rooney felt he was being frozen out and he tried to engineer a way out of the club.
Paper Round's view: Perhaps Rooney does indeed have reason to worry - Van Gaal is set to bring his own Dutch staff with him to Old Trafford, and why wouldn't he want to make another of his compatriots the main man on the playing staff? Indeed, the opportunity to link up with Van Persie is most likely one of the main drivers behind his desire to go to Old Trafford in the first place. The good news for United fans is that if anyone is to get the best out of RVP, it's Van Gaal. But that may well come at a price, with Rooney set to be forced to play second fiddle once again. And considering how close he came to leaving last summer, it even seems possible that Rooney might decide that the time is now right to go - so long as Chelsea can match the £300,000-a-week contract he currently enjoys. And if the following story is true, there would be no reason for United chiefs to block his exit...
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Cavani ready to join United revolution: Edinson Cavani wants to quit Paris Saint-Germain and join Manchester United this summer, according to the Daily Mirror's back page. The Uruguay striker, along with Ezequiel Lavezzi, has fallen out with PSG coach Laurent Blanc and both players believe the Premier League will suit their style of play. Chelsea had been linked to the pair, but with United preparing a potential British record-busting £60 million bid for Cavani, the club are leading the chase. A 'source' said: "Edinson believes he will be a perfect fit in England. He knows that United, Manchester City and Chelsea are all interested and would be happy to talk to any of them. But he also knows United seem the most keen and that is a factor."
Paper Round's view: For "most keen" read "offering the most". United are desperate to turn around their fortunes this summer, and it seems as though the purse strings have been sufficiently loosened for a new manager to be able to splash that kind of money, if he feels Cavani is the type of player they need. Of course, the main areas United need to reinforce are defence and midfield, but in terms of statements to the world after such a disappointing season, the signing of Cavani would be as big as they come.
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Giggs to be offered role regardless of Van Gaal plans: Manchester United will offer Ryan Giggs a role at the club even if Van Gaal - or whoever takes over - does not want him to continue playing and excludes him from their first-team coaching staff. The Guardian reports that the Welshman is viewed as key to continuity at the club and, while they will not pressure the new manager to retain him or any of the Class of 92 in any first-team capacity, a role lower down the club's coaching structure will be made available to him.
Paper Round's view: United would be mad not to. Whilst all this talk of Giggs being the next Pep Guardiola (step forward Anders Lindegaard) is rather premature, he certainly has the potential to become a decent enough manager. And at United, Giggs is well liked by players, staff and fans alike, so it would be a wise move to keep him there to gain experience of coaching before, perhaps, moving up the ranks in years to come. Even Guardiola had to do some time in charge of Barca B before he stepped up.
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Spurs to decide Allardyce's fate: Sam Allardyce risks being sacked next month if his West Ham side get beaten by Tottenham this weekend. The Daily Mirror claims that is the grave situation the Hammers boss is facing, with 77 per cent of fans polled wanting him out of the club. The paper reports that Saturday's clash with Spurs is being viewed as Allardyce's last stand, with the Hammers not given much hope of beating title-chasing Manchester City on the final weekend of the season.
Paper Round's view: Allardyce can be classed as one of West Ham's most unpopular managers ever, given the brand of football he encourages, but those fans who want him out must also be aware that his tactics are at least effective. Baring a disaster, they will be safe this season, but what it boils down to is whether the club are satisfied staving off relegation, or whether they aspire to greater things. With Allardyce at the helm, aspirations of climbing up the table are sadly limited, and perhaps it is that that will be his undoing.
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Mourinho slams "stupid” football “philosophers": Jose Mourinho has hit out at critics who he feels do not realise that the game is about playing to your strengths. The Daily Mirror's back page delivers the news with a blunt headline, accompanied by a great photo of the Chelsea manager, ahead of tonight's Champions League semi-final, second leg against Atletico Madrid. Mourinho has been riled by those who have criticised him for his recent tactics - in the first leg and then against Liverpool at the weekend - but the Portuguese maintains they are entirely justified.
Paper Round's view: One thing you cannot accuse Mourinho of being is boring in his press conferences. Given his ability to speak his mind without fear of consequence, the man is one of the most quotable managers in history. Anyway, he knows how to win and if his way leads to glory, who are these "philosophers" to question him?
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- Sports & Recreation
- Wayne Rooney
- Louis van Gaal
- Edinson Cavani
- Old Trafford
- Sam Allardyce