Liverpool's bid for Lallana stalls: Liverpool’s attempt to sign Adam Lallana has reached an impasse with Southampton refusing to lower their £30 million valuation of the England player despite his desire to move to Anfield, according to the Times. Liverpool upped their bid from £20m to £25m on Friday on the condition that the proposed deal was concluded without delay but the Saints refused to budge. Liverpool have warned Southampton they will now look to other options, notably Xherdan Shaqiri of Bayern Munich and Manchester City’s James Milner. The paper does report though that the Reds have agreed a £18 million fee with Seville for Alberto Moreno, the left back, having earlier had a £16 million bid turned down.
Paper Round's view: It is easy to understand Liverpool's view. £25m is a lot of money for Lallana and looks like a solid deal for all parties. Southampton's stance is admirable but if Liverpool walk away they could be left with an unhappy player on their hands, and that alone will depreciate his value. The Saints might want £30m for Lallana but it is hard to see any club paying that much so they might just have to take their medicine and accept the deal. It seems like Southampton are overinflating the fee as 25 per cent of the proceeds of any transfer fee received for Lallana have to go to Bournemouth, his former club, but they are still going to make huge money on the sale and should cash-in while his stock is so high.
Four English clubs wants Balotelli: Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham could all be interested in Mario Balotelli according to the Daily Express. Milan have agreed that the controversial striker can leave the club and have slapped a £20m price tag on his head. According to the Mirror it is Arsenal who are most seriously considering a move, with Arsene Wenger a known admirer of the striker.
Paper Round's view: We are sure Balotelli's agent would love to think there are four clubs interested in his services but we find that hard to believe. Liverpool you can certainly rule out straight away now that Rickie Lambert is arriving. They will not be looking for another striker unless Luis Suarez leaves. Jose Mourinho had to try and manage the Balotelli circus at Inter and is likely to look elsewhere, so it will be up to the North London clubs to decide whether they are prepared to gamble. And that is certainly what Balotelli is – a gamble. He has scored 30 goals in 54 games at Milan, an impressive enough record, but of course with Balotelli you know you are going to get more than just goals.
Inter want Javier Hernandez on loan, also eye Torres: Inter Milan are trying to persuade Manchester United to loan Javier Hernandez with view to a £10m permanent deal, reports the Daily Mail. The Mexico striker wants to play more games and Inter are eager to bring in two strikers with Chelsea's Fernando Torres a well-documented target. Valencia are also monitoring both players.
Paper Round's view: This could make some sense, Inter have already signed Nemanja Vidic and he could help Hernandez settle at the club. The popular Mexican is a useful squad player for Untied but never looks like being anything more than that and it is fair enough at this stage of his career for him to want to play more. You feel he is the type of player United would prefer to see join a foreign club though and nouveau riche Valencia could be another option. Torres also needs a change of scenery so it would be no surprise to see the two men playing in different leagues next season.
Lampard could play for City before joining their MLS side: Manchester City will try to persuade New York City-bound Frank Lampard to break his promise never to play for another Premier League club, according to the Mirror. The paper claims Lampard has already agreed a deal with City's new MLS franchise. However, his new club’s campaign does not kick off until March 2015 and Lampard - set to be released by Chelsea this month - will need to play in the meantime. City hope Lampard can improve their English quota with Micah Richards, Jack Rodwell, Gareth Barry, Scott Sinclair and Joleon Lescott leaving.
Paper Round: This certainly makes sense for City next season with all the trouble they are facing with their Champions League squad due to financial fair play rules. However, Lampard does seem like a man of his word so it would still be a surprise to see him lining up for City just for a couple of months. Lampard does not seem like the type of guy who will get out of shape if he spends a few months away from playing and there is sure to be lots of promotional work to do with the new team to keep him busy. If he stays in England until next March, then a short-term deal with Chelsea surely makes more sense.
Koeman promised £50m kitty if he joins Southampton: Dutch legend Roland Koeman has emerged as the top name to replace Mauricio Pochettino at Southampton according to the Express. Koeman stepped down as Feyenoord boss at the end of last season to pursue other ambitions and is now closing in on the vacant role at St Mary's. The previous main contenders have dropped out of the running with former Basel boss Murat Yakin set to join Spartak Moscow while Derby County have refused to allow Steve McClaren to be lured away.
Paper Round: That might sound like a large sum for Koeman to play around with but he could be tasked with building a new team. Rickie Lambert is off to Liverpool, and Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw, Dejan Lovren, Morgan Schneiderlin and Nathaniel Clyne have all been linked with exits too. It will be a tough job for anyone.
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