Madrid plan to nick Suarez off Liverpool: Liverpool are bracing themselves for a £70 million raid from Real Madrid for striker Luis Suarez, according to a report in The Sun. The paper reports that the bid will trigger a get-out clause in his new Anfield contract, with an offer to be tabled at the end of the season and before the World Cup starts.
Assuming the report is accurate, the Reds would be powerless to stop Suarez leaving.
Real have yet to decide whether to offer Karim Benzema or highly-rated youngster Alvaro Morata as part-exchange, the article adds.
Paper Round's view: Real Madrid are one of the biggest and richest clubs in the world, and as such can expect to be able to attract the best players on the planet, but their inevitable pursuit of pretty much any player who rises to prominence is getting rather tiresome. No one, it seems, is safe from the dastardly Spanish club and clubs like Liverpool must be heartily sick of the battles they are forced to wage every transfer window to hold on to their best players. Suarez, of course, didn't do his club any favours last summer, when he flirted outrageously with Real, not to mention Arsenal, and we are yet to see if he is still tempted by a move to the Bernabeu. That is assuming his latest get-out clause actually exists on his contract...
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Lallana to snub Chelsea, United for Liverpool: Adam Lallana is set to become "the first piece in Liverpool’s Champions League jigsaw next season", reports the Daily Mirror. The Southampton midfielder is set to snub the advances of Manchester United and Chelsea in favour of a move to Anfield, despite his boyhood fan allegiances to Everton. The Merseyside club believe they can do a deal for around £20m, with Saints owner Katharina Liebherr prepared to green light a sale.
Paper Round's view: Now this would be a real coup for Liverpool, not only to land a talent as exciting as Lallana, but to do so amid interest from Chelsea and United. Such a move would show just how far Liverpool have come (and perhaps how far in the other direction United have slipped) and would indicate in what light the Brendan Rodgers project is now viewed. And if Lallana did go to Anfield, the club would only be in an even better position to challenge for the title again.
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Van Gaal talks stall over Giggs: Manchester United's negotiations with Louis van Gaal have hit a hitch over how interim manager Ryan Giggs would fit into the Dutchman's substantial back room entourage. The Independent reports that Van Gaal left his Algarve holiday home on Monday with no deal secured and that there is a growing sense that talks to install him as David Moyes' successor at Old Trafford have not gone as smoothly as hoped. The reason for that is the Class of '92, for whom there is a growing clamour to be accommodated within the new set-up. There are suggestions, the paper claims, that it might be difficult for Van Gaal to accommodate Giggs and his former team-mates. The report adds that United are not minded to impose Giggs on Moyes’ successor.
Paper Round's view: It seems as though much depends of Giggs himself, and what role he would be satisfied with playing. With United apparently not forcing Van Gaal to take Giggs on board, and the Dutchman seemingly keen on including him in some way, the delay to the talks is most likely coming from Giggs, and what he wants for himself and his current interim staff. That's fair enough, but while Giggs can expect to end up with some role to play, the likes of Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Phil Neville are in less of a strong position to demand they are retained once a new manager takes over.
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City to splash on defence this summer: Manuel Pellegrini is set to spend big this summer in an attempt to address Manchester City's defensive problems. The Telegraph reports that the title-chasers have identified a need for at least two defenders and a holding midfielder once the transfer window opens again. Talks with Porto over the £30 million-rated centre-half Eliaquim Mangala and midfielder Fernando are at an advanced stage, while Bacary Sagna is a confirmed target, with the Arsenal full-back ready to move to City on a free transfer after rejecting Arsene Wenger’s attempts to tie him to a new three-year deal at the Emirates Stadium.
Paper Round's view: Finally, City's focus seems to be shifting away from recruiting big-money flair attacking players and towards what the club has sorely needed for a while now - a truly world class defender. Whether Mangala fits that bill, or indeed Sagna, is still perhaps open to debate, but at least City are in the market for one. And, should they win their remaining Premier League games, incredibly they will have managed to get away with neglecting that aspect of their squad this season.
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Mel doomed: Pepe Mel's tenure as West Brom manager will be terminated at the end of the current season - whether the Baggies stay up or not. The Daily Star's exclusive informs us that the Spaniard's days look numbered at The Hawthorns after the club began the search for a new manager and a possible overhaul of their coaching set-up. The prospect of Mel being replaced is being "openly discussed" behind the scenes in the Black Country and a parting of ways "could suit both parties", the paper claims. Tensions still exist between the manager and some players, with some of his squad complaining about his methods and that they are struggling to understand his broken English.
Paper Round's view: Mel has done superbly well to give the Baggies a fighting chance of survival this season, overseeing three wins in their last seven games, but if he and his methods are not popular with players, the writing must be on the wall. Still, if West Brom do stay up and he goes, he at least will leave with his reputation intact.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Real Madrid
- Luis Suarez
- Adam Lallana
- Ryan Giggs
- Van Gaal
- Manchester United