Chelsea plan £50m raid on Atletico: Chelsea are closing in on a triple raid on La Liga champions Atletico Madrid after indicating a willingness to pay close to the £19.4m buyout clause in Filipe Luis' contract. The Times reports that a £32m deal for striker Diego Costa has already been in place for some time while negotiations are also under way to bring midfielder Tiago back to Stamford Bridge. Defender Luis has been monitored by Chelsea for several months, and with Ashley Cole's announcement last week that he will move on this summer, the need for a quality, experienced left-back is apparent.
Paper Round's view: Luis certainly fits all those criteria and, unlike the man who kept Cole out of the side this season, Cesar Azpilicueta, is a genuine left-back. Quite how willing Atleti would be to sanction the break-up of their squad on anything less than their own terms, though, is debateable. The report claims Chelsea are willing to pay "close" to the player's buy-out clause figure, but what's the point of having such a clause if it is not met? Atleti should be able to demand the full £19.4m for Luis and if Chelsea want him, they'll have to pay it.
- - -
Real set to bid £60m for Aguero: Manchester City are bracing themselves for a £60m bid from Real Madrid for Sergio Aguero after the European champions gave up on Luis Suarez. The Daily Star's back page claims that Real have cemented Aguero at the top of their summer shopping list with Carlo Ancelotti having been forced to accept that Suarez will not be leaving Liverpool. Sources close to Aguero suggest he is open to a move to the Spanish giants, the paper claims, although Real president Florentino Perez has insisted his club are not chasing the striker. But it is understood that Madrid will wait until after the World Cup to make their move.
Paper Round's view: There's not a great deal of concrete evidence in this report to suggest that Aguero is indeed interested in a move, although the quotes from Perez could be interpreted as being interesting. "We are not thinking about making a move for Aguero - at the moment," he said, suggesting there could well be some interest at some stage in the future, say post-World Cup. If so, that's bad news for City, who are reeling from the Yaya Toure saga and can ill-afford to potentially lose their best striker as well.
- - -
Eto'o eyes up Arsenal move: Samuel Eto'o wants to join Arsenal this summer to prove Jose Mourinho wrong, reports the Daily Mirror. Eto'o's representatives have made it clear to the Gunners that the Emirates is the free agent striker's number one choice of destination, the paper claims, with the Cameroon international keen to hit back at Mourinho following the manager's jibes about his age.
Paper Round's view: The report points to the "extra incentive of trying to outsmart Mourinho" as being a big driving force for Eto'o to sign for Arsenal, who do indeed need a striker this summer. Whether that means 33-year-old Eto'o, who failed to prove himself at Premier League level last season, is unlikely though, with Arsene Wenger more likely to bring in a player who has potential and is at the beginning of his career - Alvaro Morata, 21, for example - rather than somebody of Eto'o's experience.
- - -
Gunners step up chase for Morata: Speaking of Morata, the Daily Mail claim Arsenal chiefs have flown to Spain in the hope of striking a deal with Real Madrid for the forward. Madrid are willing to sell but insist on having a buy-back clause which is likely to prove a stumbling block towards a deal. Wenger hopes the lure of first-team football will be enough to secure the move.
Paper Round's view: Arsenal tried to sign the youngster on loan in January and this is a much more likely move by Wenger than one for Eto'o. It seems, though, to depend on this buy-back clause, which Arsenal are understandably concerned about, their thinking presumably being along the lines of 'why invest in a player if he is just going to leave once he gets good?'. If that hurdle can be overcome, then Arsenal could well be onto a winner.
- - -
PSG confident of Hazard move: The Daily Mirror report that Paris Saint-Germain believe Chelsea could be ready to sell Eden Hazard this summer. The French champions are set to test the Blues' resolve with a £60m bid for the Belgian playmaker, who the paper claims is a frustrated figure at Stamford Bridge. Jose Mourinho may want to cash in on Hazard, with PSG potentially willing to offer Ezequiel Lavezzi in a player-plus-cash deal.
Paper Round's view: Hazard expressed some slight frustration at Chelsea's tactics following their Champions League exit to Atletico Madrid, but that does not necessarily mean the player wants out of the club, nor does it mean the club want to sell him. Indeed, they would be mad to. The £60m figure may be tempting, even for Roman Abramovich, but Chelsea are already set to rake in nearly £50m for David Luiz - to PSG - which can easily fund a new striker this summer, so there is no real imperative to sell up for financial reasons. And in terms of his pedigree, any club would be poorer without him.
- - -
QPR target Spurs duo: Andros Townsend and Michael Dawson are on Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp's radar. The Daily Express reports that Tottenham are set for a summer clear-out when new manager Mauricio Pochettino assumes control of their squad. Redknapp wants Townsend on a year-long loan while Dawson would set him back around £4m. The paper adds that QPR are also interested in Rio Ferdinand with Newcastle centre-back Steven Taylor another option.
Paper Round's view: Any one of those four would strengthen QPR's back line, but Redknapp's ties with Spurs might may count in his favour with Townsend and Dawson. Townsend has gone off the boil at Spurs but a new lease of life elsewhere could well re-ignite his career, while Dawson is still a reliable Premier League performer. Redknapp claims he is not a wheeler-dealer, but he knows how to make transfers happen and QPR will certainly have new players in their squad by the start of the new season.
- - -
- Sports & Recreation
- Atletico Madrid
- Luis Suarez
- Jose Mourinho
- Paper Round