Premier League - Paper Round: Liverpool lead chase for Spurs star

Liverpool lead a line of top clubs vying for Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen; Arsene Wenger has revealed his interest in a French winger; and Swansea’s Ashley Williams is being linked with a move to European giants Napoli – the top stories from the morning papers.

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Premier League - Vertonghen: March crucial for Spurs top four hopes
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Jan Vertonghen of Tottenham (PA Sport)

Liverpool head a pack of clubs chasing Vertonghen’ - Liverpool will move for Jan Vertonghen this summer if the Reds secure Champions League qualification, according to various paper reports this morning. The Tottenham defender hinted last week that he would pursue a move away from White Hart Lane if Tim Sherwood’s men failed to finish in the top four this season and a number of papers believe that he could be on his way to Liverpool over the summer. According to the Daily Mail, Liverpool are ready to pounce as manager Brendan Rodgers looks to strengthen his back line.

Paper Round’s view: Liverpool may now be title contenders but there is very little chance of Daniel Levy allowing the imposing defender to leave White Hart Lane to Spurs’ Premier League rivals. With Tottenham likely to make a big-name managerial appointment over the summer, Vertonghen will likely see what the club have planned and assess his options from there. His agent may have made all the right noises, but expect an improved contract to put all of that to bed. Rodgers may be very keen to land his man, but buying a key player from a rival club in England is not the easiest path to head down.

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‘Wenger to move for French winger’ - Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is tracking Real Sociedad's £25m-rated star Antoine Griezmann with a view to bringing him to the Emirates Stadium in the summer, according to the Daily Star. Real Madrid, PSG, and Juventus are all interested in signing Griezmann, who came through the youth system at Sociedad. The Spanish club are understood to be desperate to keep the 22-year-old, but may face a fight on their hands to retain their star man with Wenger apparently very keen to land the starlet.

Paper Round’s view: Real Madrid, PSG, and Juventus are all reportedly interested in signing Griezmann, so Arsenal will have a fight on their hands if they are to land the young star. Gunners fans will perhaps be frustrated that Wenger is looking at yet another promising attacking midfielder with a striker clearly what the club need most urgently in the summer, but there is little doubt that the winger has a tremendous amount of potential nonetheless. Who knows, Wenger may even attempt to turn him into a striker?

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‘Swansea captain linked to Euro giants’ - Swansea skipper Ashley Williams is wanted by Napoli boss Rafa Benitez, according to the Daily Mirror. Benitez was impressed with the £5million-rated Williams when Napoli played Swansea over two legs in the Europa League last month. Italian agents working on behalf of Napoli have been instructed to try to broker a deal to sign the Wales captain this summer.

Paper Round’s view: This transfer rumour really is not as unlikely as it perhaps sounds. Williams, who has just a year left on his contract, has also reportedly attracted interest from Arsenal, Liverpool, Everton, Tottenham and Aston Villa and remains one of the most reliable and consistent defenders in the Premier League. Benitez will have seen his imposing play and inspiring leadership at close hand during his time in England recently and he would likely do a fine job surrounded by top players at Napoli.

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‘Lescott closing on move abroad’ - Besiktas are closing in on Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott, that's according to a report in the Daily Mirror. The Turkish club hope to persuade the England international to sign a pre-contract agreement before his deal with City runs out at the end of the season. There has been an explosion of money in Turkish football and Besiktas are thought to be offering about £100,000 a week for up to three years as they attempt to land the out-of-favour City defender.

Paper Round’s view: Lescott, who turns 32 in August, could go to the summer with his future undecided and that may not be a bad thing for the defender if injuries strike and he is called to action for Roy Hodgson at the World Cup. A bid by West Ham to sign him in January fell through and Lescott, who confirmed he is leaving the Etihad, can command more as a free agent. He will be very much hoping that an injury or two sees him in the England ranks over the summer with a chance to impress on the biggest footballing stage of all.

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