Liverpool pledge to fans that they'll buy 'world class' striker: The Daily Mirror reports that, "Brendan Rodgers has promised to pursue a world class striker right up to midnight on deadline day." The Reds boss said that "the money is there" for a top-drawer replacement for Luis Suarez, with Edinson Cavani of PSG and Radamel Falcao of Monaco the two names in the frame. Falcao is said to prefer a move to Real Madrid, but Spanish sources claim there is "no chance" of the former Atletico man going to the European Champions after a massively underwhelming 2013-14 season in France. Whatever happens, Rodgers is happy to wait until the window closes on September 1st to make sure he gets the right man.
Paper Round's view: This seems frankly outrageous stuff from Rodgers, clearly trying to pacify the fans ahead of the first match of the season - and he then went on to cover his back by talking about how hard it is. But it's all masking the truth: Barcelona confirmed recently that Suarez negotiations began well before the World Cup, so Liverpool have had since late May or early June to start the process. Instead, with the season kicking off, they seem nowhere even close to getting the sort of world class player they need to replace Suarez.
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Real Madrid slash asking price for Khedira: Arsenal have long been put off German World Cup winner Sami Khedira due to his wage demands, but with just a year left on his contract Real Madrid are keen to offload him. So much so that they've cut their asking price to a paltry £8 million, according to Spanish newspaper AS.
Paper Round says: £8 million sounds like a risk worth taking for a player of Khedira's quality, especially given the number of German stars at the Emirates already - a proven way of helping new players settle in quickly. Those £150,000+ a week wages will be the big stumbling block, but landing a heavy hitter for a lightweight transfer fee would surely make the sums add up.
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Feeding frenzy for Cech: The Daily Mail reports that Thibaut Courtois has secured his spot as the first-choice goalkeeper for Chelsea, sparking a rush of interest in shot-stopped Petr Cech. The Czech is still just 32, so probably has a good eight years left on the clock - and Paris Saint-Germain, Monaco and Real Madrid are all understood to be keen.
Paper Round has come to the conclusion that: Courtois' exploits while on loan with Atletico Madrid have rightly earned him this chance, and though Mourinho would love to keep both players he has openly accepted that the man who misses out on the number one jersey will want to move. Don't be so sure that Cech will definitely want to move, however: Cech and his wife Martina have been settled in London for over a decade and have two kids at school, so wouldn't transplant their lives lightly.
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Spurs to move for Roma's Destro: The Times reports that Roma striker Mattia Destro could move to Tottenham Hotspur, with Roma director Walter Sabatini reportedly flying to England to talk over the move. Wolfsburg are also keen on an £18 million bid for the Italy striker.
Paper Round has had a ponder, and decided: This looks like a classic example of going for the player you can get rather than the player you really want. Considering how well Roma did last season, and the fact that they're in the Champions League this term, they wouldn't be selling Destro if they thought he was worth hanging on to. And is that really the sort of player an ambitious club like Spurs should be gambling on?
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Chelsea to move for Roma's Benatia: Hilariously, the exact same business trip mentioned above in The Times - Roma chief Walter Sabbatini heading to London - sparks a completely different story in the Daily Express, namely that he's in town to talk to Chelsea about a £30 million deal for highly-rated centre-back (and Manchester United target) Mehdi Benatia. "Chelsea are in pole position to land the Moroccan international," the story concludes.
Paper Round mulled over this one rather as it might taste a fine vintage claret: Classic transfer window Chinese Whispers. No doubt Sabbatini probably flew over with his wife to see the Jersey Boys and go on the London Eye, or something like that. As for Benatia, he seems like an excellent prospect - but our guess is that United's need (and therefore their willingness to pay) will be greater.
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Redknapp targets former Portsmouth hard man: The Daily Mirror reports that QPR manager Harry Redknapp wants to sign Lassana Diarra, now at Lokomotiv Moscow. There is a stumbling block, however: "The French midfielder has been told to halve his wage demands," the paper reports. "Diarra, 29, who played under Redknapp at Portsmouth, is on £80,000 a week in Russia and Lokomotiv want him off their wage bill… Tony Fernandes is prepared to do the deal – but won’t go above £40,000 a week. Redknapp must rely on Diarra taking a big pay cut or he will look elsewhere."
Paper Round chuckled out loud in near disbelief as it realised that: Redknapp has always been a big fan of turning back to players who have done him well in the past. But Paper Round can't think of a single instance where that has worked out for him. Feel free to point out players proving the contrary in the comments box below…
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- Real Madrid
- Luis Suarez
- Brendan Rodgers
- Radamel Falcao