Premier League - Paper Round: Liverpool set for Falcao swoop?

Is Brendan Rodgers about to pull off the transfer coup of the summer? And who is Louis van Gaal going to bolster his defence with?

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Premier League - Paper Round: Liverpool set for Falcao swoop?
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Monaco striker Radamel Falcao

LIVERPOOL LINKED WITH FALCAO DEAL: The Mail on Sunday reports that Liverpool are in the hunt for Monaco’s Colombian striker Radamel Falcao. Brendan Rodgers has talked about finding a world class replacement for Luis Suarez and they don’t come any better than Falcao, who is reportedly dissatisfied with life at Monaco. The Ligue 1 club only want to loan him out for a year, however, and will charge £12m for the privilege, plus his £200,000-a-week wages.

PAPER ROUND’S VIEW: It’s an eye-catching headline but the article itself admits the move is pretty implausible, with Real Madrid a far more likely destination. There are also some odd inconsistencies in the piece. The headline states “Liverpool still interested in Radamel Falcao” but the first line states the reverse: “Radamel Falcao is still interesting English clubs including Liverpool” and states that Liverpool are merely “monitoring” the situation. It also claims that Monaco want Madrid to buy Falcao outright, not loan him – then states the French club’s conditions for a loan. All in all, it’s pretty unconvincing stuff.

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ETO’O TO SNUB LIVERPOOL FOR ARSENAL: More Liverpool striker news, this time in The Sun on Sunday. It seems Samuel Eto’o is stalling on a move to Liverpool because he hopes Arsenal will come in for him. Eto’o is reportedly “desperate” to work with Arsene Wenger.

PAPER ROUND’S VIEW: This is another very slight piece of reporting, with no quotes, not background, and not even the traditional line about Eto’o wanting to stay in London. Maybe there’s no space in the paper, or maybe there’s not a lot to this story, despite it being tagged as an ‘EXCLUSIVE’. What’s more, much as Eto’o might admire Wenger, the Frenchman is not a manager to hamper the development of youngsters like Yaya Sanogo by signing a 30-something to play ahead of him.

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VAN GAAL PLANS SPENDING SPREE: Manchester United’s defeat to Swansea - with a starting XI featuring Jesse Lingard and Tyler Blackett – highlighted the need for Louis van Gaal to bolster his squad, and the Sunday Express reckons it knows LVG’s top target – Roma defender Mehdi Benatia. The paper claims United have slapped in a £24m bid, but must fight off competition from Chelsea, Manchester City and Bayern Munich.

PAPER ROUND’S VIEW: We all know United need to spend – Van Gaal stated as much after yesterday’s game. But it’s the question of how to attract quality players without the lure of European football that continues to vex them. Chelsea, City and Bayern have far less need for a defender from United, but if any of them really does have an interest in Benatia, United surely have no chance. Add to that the fact that chief exec Ed Woodward has never completed a major signing from a European club, and we can see this going the same way as deals for Fabregas, Di Maria, Hummels et al.

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LVG OSTRACISES TRIO: Louis van Gaal has frozen Nani, Anderson and Wilfried Zaha from his Manchester United squad in a “brutal show of power” according to the Sunday People. The outcasts have been forced to train at different times, eat away from the rest of the first team and been “excluded from team briefings and fame play strategy sessions”. The move shows Van Gaal’s determination to show who is part of his squad and who is not, and to spell out to the trio that they should seek gainful employment elsewhere.

PAPER ROUND’S VIEW: If Van Gaal has no intention of using any of these players, it’s hardly surprising that he would remove them from first team activities, so in one sense this isn’t really surprising. But Nani, much as he might not be the Dutchman’s perfect player, actually came on as a half-time sub against Swansea. If he had been barred from team strategy meetings, that would be utterly brainless from Van Gaal. Which leads Paper Round to conclude that it’s probably not the case. Are Nani, Anderson and Zaha surplus to requirements? Almost certainly? Is LVG deliberately sabotaging players who he’s actually going to use in matches? Clearly not.

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