United 'go to war' over top target: Flush after announcing a new world record £750m kit deal with adidas (which actually comes into effect in 2015), Manchester United are still refusing to pay an excessive amount for top midfield target Arturo Vidal, who is valued at £34 million by employers Juventus. As reported by the Mirror: "United have warned their interest could go cold as it is understood they believe Italian champions Juve, who need to sell either Vidal or fellow midfielder Paul Pogba to balance their books, may be using them to try to start a bidding war for Vidal."
Paper Round's view: What are United up to here? £34m is a very good price for Vidal, who is arguably the pre-eminent box-to-box midfielder in world football. He has dominated Serie A in recent seasons and is the driving force of an impressive Chile side. At 27 he is at his peak so it seems a perfectly reasonable fee to demand. United need to stop negotiating and agree the price immediately before they get gazumped by a team that can offer Champions League football.
'United triple swoop': There's better news for Manchester United fans in the Daily Star though as they report Louis van Gaal will waste no time when starting life as United manager on Wednesday, with the Dutchman looking to tie up deals for Vidal, Argentina midfielder Angel Di Maria and Germany defender Mats Hummels. They put the Vidal fee at £40m, though suggest Nani could be used as a makeweight, while add Di Maria has turned down Paris Saint-Germain and Hummels could be the subject of a £20m offer. According to the paper: "The new Manchester United manager is hoping he can land all three before the new Premier League season kicks off on August 16.The Dutchman flew back to his homeland on Sunday and is working from home in a bid to get the three deals moving."
Paper Round's view: Well, that's certainly eye-catching stuff, but let's delve a bit deeper. Conflicting reports suggest Di Maria has in fact chosen PSG as his next destination while £20m for Hummels sounds awfully low for a defender who was one of the heroes of Germany's World Cup win. Vidal looks the most likely still, but after spending £60m on Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw already, do United have the money to pull off three more massive deals?
Arsenal to end Khedira pursuit? Reports in Spain suggested the deal to take Sami Khedira to Arsenal was all but done, but now the Mirror reports discussions have hit a big stumbling block in the shape of his wage demands of £150,000-per-week. The paper explains: "Even though Khedira has just a year left on his contract at Real Madrid, the Gunners are not willing to be held to ransom by his demands for £150,000-a-week before bonuses. The salary would lift the 27-year-old - who has so far rejected a new deal at the European champions - above the likes of Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, both of whom are on around £130,000-a-week."
Paper Round's view: You can't really make a defensive midfielder your top wage earner, can you? Having said that, Arsenal desperately need a player of Khedira's calibre in midfielder and in the grand scheme of things (in football at least) £150,000 isn't the most outrageous weekly wage. Especially when you consider Wayne Rooney is on £300,000. Pay up, Arsene.
Liverpool targeting Marcos Reus: A bold story from the Express this morning, which reports Liverpool are hoping to snare Borussia Dortmund and Germany forward Marco Reus, who missed the World Cup due to injury. The paper reports: "Reus was left aggravated by Luis Suarez's move to Barcelona last week because he believed he was en route to the Spanish giants. But new boss Luis Enrique is thought to have preferred Suarez to the German international, leaving Reus in the lurch. The 25-year-old had already spurned interest from United because he favoured a move to Barca."
Paper Round's view: This seems desperately unlikely. With all due respect to Liverpool, who challenged for the title last season, they aren't yet the draw they used to be, as demonstrated perfectly by Alexis Sanchez's refusal to contemplate a move to Anfield. Reus will have higher standards - remember, this is a player who would have been starting for the World Cup winners had injury not intervened.
Wilshere faces Arsenal showdown: Not strictly a transfer story, but the Evening Standard contains pictures of Jack Wilshere smoking on holiday with pals in a development that is sure to anger manager Arsene Wenger. Wilshere is currently in Las Vegas to wind down after England's World Cup disappointment and was also caught smoking in October, when Wenger reacted in the following way: "I disagree completely with that behaviour.”
Paper Round's view: It is not so much the smoking itself that is a problem, more the fact that Wilshere has expressly gone against the wishes of his manager. This latest incident only feeds into suggestions that Wilshere is not exactly the consummate professional and does not reflect well on the midfielder.
- Sports & Recreation
- Manchester United
- Arturo Vidal
- Sami Khedira
- Mats Hummels
- Angel Di Maria