Mourinho rages over Toure decision: Most papers lead with Jose Mourinho's angry reaction to the news that Yaya Toure escaped a ban for his off-the-ball clash with Norwich striker Ricky Van Wolfswinkel, with the Daily Mirror reporting that the Chelsea manager has effectively accused the FA of "opening the door to on-field violence". The decision not to censure Toure means that the Ivorian midfielder is free to play in Manchester City's next three games, including the weekend's clash with title rivals Chelsea. "If Toure is not suspended, the message is clear: the players can do what they want if the referee doesn't see," said Mourinho.
Paper Round's view: Mourinho must have been licking his lips when he saw replays of Toure's indiscretion at the weekend, knowing that a ban must surely follow. But he wasn't counting on the FA, and having to factor in Toure to his tactical thinking when his side meet City is clearly an irritation for him. Whether the FA's decision, made after a 2-1 majority by a panel of former referees, opens the floodgates to 90 minutes of senseless brutality on the pitch remains to be seen though.
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Fulham risk upsetting Arsenal if Liverpool game is postponed: The Daily Mail asks a decent poser today: why are Fulham ready to cancel their match against Liverpool on Wednesday (and give the Reds a whole week to prepare for a Cup tie with Arsenal), if the Gunners say their clash with Manchester United will beat the proposed Tube strike that is threatening to disrupt this week's Premier League programme? The paper says Fulham are at risk of provoking a "major row" if they do postpone their game, with the club claiming they will not be able to get enough stewards if the threatened 48-hour walk-out by Tube staff goes ahead. But Arsenal, who's ground has a capacity nearly three times greater than Craven Cottage, do not appear to envisage the same problems.
Paper Round's view: The paper offers no answer to its question, but here's another one: what exactly have Fulham got to gain from giving Liverpool a week off before an FA Cup tie against Arsenal? Why would they, indeed. Fulham don't play again until February 22 anyway - against West Brom in the Premier League - so they are getting a lengthy rest anyway and are unlikely to be hankering after an even longer break. So, in all likelihood, they genuinely can't get enough stewards and this is a non-story, despite the suggestions contained within.
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City turn to Portugal in bid to pass FPP test: Manchester City have secured a commercial interest in two Portuguese clubs that will give them a competitive edge in the potential recruitment of Brazilian players, reports The Independent. The move, which will see City provide "scouting, marketing and merchandising advice" at Gil Vicente and pursue shares in Boavista, may also boost future attempts to pass UEFA's Financial Fair Play test by helping account for some of the huge revenues they have claimed for the sale of their intellectual property to "related parties".
Paper Round's view: Hot on the heels of their purchase of Melbourne Heart - and their expenditure on Manchester City Ladies FC and their New York City FC - City's latest move could well see them out of the woods in terms of the FFP test. But going about buying up stakes in foreign clubs to prove where revenue has gone hardly smacks of fair play. Since when did finding loopholes to the rules constitute that?
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United to miss out on Pogba: Manchester United are set to fail in their protracted chase of Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba, reports the Daily Mirror. The 20-year-old former United player is on the verge of signing a new deal with the Turin club, which would see the France international treble his current wages to €3million a year.
Paper Round's view: Poor David Moyes. He had nothing to do with selling Pogba back in 2012, but how he could do with the youngster's talent at the moment. No surprises that Pogba has turned his nose up at returning to Old Trafford - why would he want to swap a title chase and Champions League football for scrutiny, uncertainty and, at best, the Europa League next season?
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Arsenal warned off young Dutch duo: Ajax director of football Marc Overmars has issued former club Arsenal with hands-off warning over talented youngsters Joel Veltman and Davy Klaassen, according to the Daily Express. The same message has been related to fellow suitors Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City. The paper reports that the Gunners are thought to be in pole position over attacking midfielder Klaassen while centre-back Veltman has been heavily linked with United.
Paper Round's view: Overmars is quoted as saying he will "lie in front of the gate when they come for (the pair)", which is pretty evocative wording and sends out a fairly strong message that neither will be leaving the Dutch club. Nobody wants little Marc Overmars to get squashed.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Yaya Toure
- Manchester City
- Manchester United
- Ricky Van Wolfswinkel