Premier League - Paper Round: Chelsea and Liverpool to fight for Barcelona star

Chelsea and Liverpool will launch a bid to sign a Barcelona star; Manchester United return for Benfica Ezequiel Garay; David De Gea is opening talks to stay at Old Trafford, and Fabio Borini is to decide on his future.

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Premier League - Paper Round: Chelsea and Liverpool to fight for Barcelona star
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Chelsea and Liverpool in for Barca forward: According to reports in the Daily Star, Chelsea and Liverpool are set to scrap for the signature of promising Barcelona striker Seung Woo Lee. Reports in Spain suggest that the two Premier League clubs are keen on tying the Korean starlet down to his first professional contract, but will have to move quickly if they are to persuade the 15-year-old not to agree terms at the Nou Camp. Tata Martino’s side discovered the rising star at the Catalunya-Korea Cup and have since acquired his services for their youth set-up, but the hype surrounding the teenager has seen Barca pressured into trying to tie him down to a long-term deal.

Paper round’s view: Signing someone at the tender age of 15 is a risky business, despite Woo Lee being held in high regard in Spain. However, if the youngster flourishes into the player that he is expected to, then snapping him up at this early stage of his career would be an astute bit of business. Barca have lost a number of promising stars in the past, with Julio Pleguezuelo, Josimar and Canos leaving the Blaugrana to join Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool respectively, but the two sides in for Woo Lee are sure to face an uphill challenge to secure his signature.

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Premier League clubs eye Garay, again: Manchester United and Chelsea sent scouts to watch Benfica defender Ezequiel Garay play against Tottenham in the midweek Europa League fixture, according to the Mirror. The 27-year-old centre-half has been linked to a host of Premier League clubs – namely Manchester United – for a number of years, but the tabloid believe that David Moyes and Jose Mourinho are to step up their bid to sign the Argentine. Garay scored the opening goal in Benfica’s aggregate win over Spurs on Thursday, and was typically solid at the heart of the Portuguese side’s defence – proving just why he is constantly linked with a move to England.

Paper round’s view: In what is one of the longest transfer sagas in football history, it is no surprise to see Garay linked with Manchester United (and Chelsea) once again. The defender blamed instability at Manchester United for a his summer move falling through, and with the turmoil continuing at Old Trafford, it is hard to see just why Garay would finally leave the Portuguese outfit. However, with Chelsea – who are still fighting it out on domestic and European fronts - now in the hunt, a summer switch may finally happen.

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Liverpool star could join Sunderland permanently: Sunderland manager Gus Poyet wants to sign loan star Fabio Borini on a permanent deal, report the Daily Mail. The 22-year-old Italian has been a big hit at the Stadium of Light since his loan move in September, but the Black Cats boss is resigned to losing the forward at the end of the season. However, the Uruguayan has insisted that it won’t stop him trying to lure Borini back on a permanent basis. “Fabio has become a hero, a legend, which is great. I don’t know if it will be possible to sign him, it's out of our hands but I can tell you that we like him a lot and we will try.”

Paper round’s view: Borini has certainly been one of Sunderland’s outstanding players this season – scoring two goals in the huge derby victories over bitter rivals Newcastle and the opener in the League Cup final, of which they eventually lost to Manchester City. But you can’t help in feeling that Sunderland’s chances of bring the Italian back to the Stadium of Light hinge on whether the Black Cats can retain their Premier League status. With Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez leading the line at Liverpool it is hard to see how Borini can fit in, but if Sunderland are relegated then there is little chance he will rejoin them in the summer.

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De Gea opens talks to stay at Manchester United: David Moyes has hinted that Spanish goalkeeper David De Gea is to be rewarded with a new contract at Manchester United, a report in the Daily Express tells us. The 23-year-old has been in fine form this season – highlighted by his stunning performance in the Red Devils’ astonishing 3-0 Champions League victory over Olympiacos in midweek, in which he pulled off a string of fine saves – and could be set to extend his stay at Old Trafford. "He has been great. He came in as a good young goalkeeper and he is turning into a great goalkeeper with a lot more to come,” said Moyes. "The club are always going to keep their best players.”

Paper round’s view: De Gea was subjected to a lot of criticism when he first arrived at Old Trafford from Atletico Madrid in 2009. A number of costly errors in high-profile matches saw speculation regarding a possible replacement increase, but the young stopper has stepped up and is turning into one of the world’s best keepers. De Gea still has two years left on his contract, but, with reports linking him to Barcelona in recent weeks, United may need to move fast if they are to secure his long-term future at the club.

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