Is Moyes about to hit the panic button?: The Manchester Evening News reports that Manchester United manager David Moyes is to go through a radical overhaul of the squad in January, with as many as 10 players being axed as the Red Devils look to reverse their sickening plunge down the table. Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra, Nani, Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia, and Anderson are all listed as likely to go in the New Year, with Javier Hernandez, Shinji Kagawa, Wilfried Zaha and Tom Cleverley also at risk of getting the boot.
The report is vastly at odds with the other back page reports: the Daily Mirror takes a typical line, reporting comments from Moyes that the club will not splash out in January despite the Red Devils' worst start to the Premier League for 12 years. "We’ve got a window in January where, if we think if it’s right for the club, we’ll do so," he said. "I don’t think I’ll feel under pressure personally to do it [buy in January] as I’ll try to do the right things. I tend to take my time and try to assess what are the best talents to bring in. You can see that from the players I brought in at Everton."
Paper Round's view: So is he panicking or not? Because if not, Paper Round has a message for the United boss: the idea of staying calm under intolerable pressure is all very noble in theory, Davey, but for God's sake NOW IS THE TIME TO PANIC! If not now, then when would you ever? Bookies are slashing odds on United having a new manager by the end of the season - just a 5-2 shot now - so why on earth would you NOT do everything you can to give you the best chance of turning it round?
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Jose to get shot of flops: Jose Mourinho's thinly-veiled public attack on his mis-firing strikers is widely reported: his analysis that "if we had eight,10,12 goals from the strikers, we would be top of the league. That’s a reality," makes most of the back pages. But the Daily Star goes one stage further to claim that the Chelsea boss will wield the axe in January. "Jose Mourinho is set to condemn Chelsea's shot-shy strikers to the scrapheap," the paper claims. "He will tell Stamford Bridge sugar daddy Roman Abramovich he needs to spend big to stop the club slipping out of the ‘big four’. The Chelsea boss is ready to bin Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Samuel Eto’o, who have managed just four league goals between them all season."
Paper Round's view: Further down in its story, The Star pulls up a fascinating statistic - that none of Chelsea's supposed strikers have scored away from home in 2013. That's pretty terrifying if true (we've not had time to double-check the paper's facts for them) and surely it's time for a new approach. Not every paper agrees with the Star, however: the Daily Telegraph reports that Mourinho will "keep faith with goal-shy strikers".
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Zouma tops Chelsea's January shopping list: The Daily Mail reports that, "Jose Mourinho could be ready to spend £10million on bad boy defender Kurt Zouma when the transfer window re-opens in January. The Chelsea boss hit out at his mis-firing strikers following Saturday's defeat by Stoke but it is his defence that he is looking to improve in the New Year. In their last three games the Blues have shipped seven goals." Zouma, 19, is currently serving a 10-match ban for breaking an opponent's leg in a horror tackle, but is well thought-of across Europe.
Paper Round's view: Chelsea's problems in defence appear to be more about lapses in concentration and organisation rather than lack of talent, but then again a bit of competition for places from a young, hungry and aggressive player might just force everyone to pick their feet up a bit.
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Arsenal and United both going for a Song: The Daily Mirror reports Barcelona (and former Arsenal) star Alex Song could be on his way back to the Premier League. "Song could be available for as little as £10m, with Arsenal and Manchester United reportedly monitoring the situation. The Cameroonian has struggled to hold down a place in Gerardo Martino's side since swapping North London for the Catalan capital last summer," the paper reports, adding that the player has failed because Barca have tried to use him as a centre-back since he's no chance of dislodging Busquets, Xavi or Iniesta from the midfield line-up.
Paper Round says: Arsenal initially felt the loss of Song, but look in little need of him now - but for Manchester United it's a very different matter. The Cameroonian's brand of midfield steel looks a good fit for beleaguered United.
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Arsenal, Liverpool and Everton to be snubbed by Dundee United's 'mini Messi': The Daily Record and Daily Express report that Dundee United's Ryan Gould is being targeted by the Gunners, Reds and the Toffees, but the Record claims that the 17-year-old wants to remain in the Scottish system for the future - and that he would in any case rather move to Europe than England. "To be the best I can be, I need to be playing first-team games," he told the paper. "Playing abroad would be the best culture of football for me to play in… If I was to go down there I would have to seriously consider what my chances were of playing first-team football and if I was stuck in the reserves would I enjoy that? I can't just think that it is a big English club and I should jump at the chance to sign for them."
Paper Round says: Gould is right, in terms of the big clubs, but Romelu Lukaku shows the way: outside the top six clubs there's no shortage of Premier League sides ready to give a teenager a go, whether that be while on loan from a title-chasing club or just as part of a mid-table side. But having said that, wouldn't it be great to see a young lad from Tayside burning up Serie A or La Liga?
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