United eyeing up Iniesta swoop: Manchester United are weighing up a sensational New Year move for Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta, according to the Daily Mail. The paper claims David Moyes has been alerted to a "growing rift" between the Spain international and Barca, and the United manager could follow up with a bid in the January window. The report states that "there are increasing noises in Spain that all is not well between the little maestro and his Nou Camp bosses" and that there is a "sense of unease" in Catalonia over his contract situation. Iniesta's current deal expires in 2015 and attempts to break a deadlock over a new contract have floundered.
Paper Round's view: It's the story that United fans have likely been waiting for, but as the report itself acknowledges, a transfer would be "one of the most audacious the Barclays Premier League has known". Given Iniesta's loyal service to Barca over his career, it's difficult to see him moving anywhere else, and even if he did decide to quit the club, surely it would not just be United with an interest in securing his services. Brilliant gossip rating: 10, chances of it actually happening rating: 5.
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Toure happy at City: Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure has denied suggestions by Rodney Marsh that he is unhappy at the Etihad Stadium, reports the Daily Mail. Former City player Marsh had claimed that Toure's body language in City's defeat to Sunderland last weekend backed up information he had received that the midfielder had grown unsettled. But Toure, via a Twitter exchange with Marsh, assured fans he has no intention of quitting City.
Paper Round's view: There's a difference between looking dejected during a miserable team performance and wanting out of a club - and it's entirely possible that Marsh has blurred the lines between the two here, despite his claims about his track record in predicting the future (based on envisaging Roberto Mancini's exit from the club, which to be fair didn't require special skills to foresee). Marsh tweeted: "Ask yourselves this. Why would YaYa dash to deny a rumour from an old man sitting in Starbucks in Florida?", which is, frankly, a ridiculous thing to say, especially considering the ramifications of Toure not saying anything at all. So, don't expect Toure to be making a move anytime soon.
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Dempsey set for Premier League return: The Daily Mirror reports that Clint Dempsey is free to return to English football, sparking a scramble for signature. The former Fulham and Tottenham ace can play away from the Seattle Sounders on a two-month loan during the MLS off-season, with Spurs holding a first option on him. The paper reports that Fulham, Aston Villa and Everton are also in the hunt for the US captain.
Paper Round's view: David Beckham did it, Landon Donovan did it, and now it seems so too will Dempsey. With the all-clear given from across the Pond, all that is left to be decided is his destination. With Spurs stocked up to the eyeballs with new recruits, they may pass on him.
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Keane says he's no monster: Most papers have stories about Roy Keane's first press conference since joining the Republic of Ireland's ranks, with the Daily Telegraph reporting that the former Manchester United midfielder was back to "his entertaining and belligerent best". One of the standout quotes (of many decent ones) to come out of the session was this pearler: “Hopefully, the players are in for a pleasant surprise. I know people can believe what they hear and read and, if they’re thinking for some reason that some monster’s going to turn up and, all of a sudden, I’m quite placid, that can help me.” And it is that which at least two of the papers lead on.
Paper Round's view: It must have been a fun night on the sports desks of some papers, with subs charged with finding a photo of Roy Keane looking his most demonic. Props to both the Telegraph and the Daily Mirror for succeeding in their mission to make Keane look as much like a monster as possible in a story about him not wanting to be branded as a monster.
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