Robben to be Van Gaal’s number one target. According to the Sun on Sunday, Louis van Gaal is preparing his new signings at Manchester United ahead of his official coronation and winger Arjen Robben, who currently plays under him for Netherlands, is top of the list. According to the paper, “Van Gaal plans to shake up the United attack with a £25 million move for the Dutch winger. Bayern Munich are tipped to off-load Robben in the wake of their disastrous Champions League semi-final exit at the hands of Real Madrid.” Although Robben only signed a contract to 2017 worth £125,000-per week, the paper says he could earn £200,000-per week at United.
Paper Round’s view: Robben was close to becoming a United player in 2004 when he went on a tour of Carrington but ultimately joined Chelsea. Should he join this summer it would be as one of the world’s most potent players and the signing would be a huge statement of intent from the club and their new manager. Paper Round is sceptical about claims Bayern want to sell though: Robben has been in wonderful form this season and remains one of the most effective forward players in the world. He is 30 though which could factor into both United and Bayern's thinking if they start talking.
PSG want Rooney move: Van Gaal’s imminent arrival has led to fresh speculation regarding the future of Wayne Rooney as it is perceived he will clash with the Dutchman and is reported to be “worried about his prospects” with Robin van Persie set to play as the central striker. As such, the Mail on Sunday reports that champions PSG are interested in making a move, reporting: “The ambitious French club were poised to make a move for Rooney in January but United decided to meet his pay demands. It is believed the player is reluctant to leave the Premier League but a move to PSG may prove his best option if he is no longer central to Van Gaal’s plans.”
Paper Round: Oh god, yet another Rooney story. Is his name ever out of the papers? You’d have thought his new £300,000-per week deal might have quelled speculation about his future but it appears the figure of Van Gaal is causing him some concern. If he can’t face knuckling down and fighting for his place, then United are better off without him. At 28 they could still command a big fee. Flog him this summer.
Rio to … Arsenal? A genuine shock story in the Sunday Mirror with the paper reporting that Manchester United star Rio Ferdinand could be poised to move to rivals Arsenal at the end of the season. Up to a dozen clubs are interested in the 35-year-old but, “Arsene Wenger is an admirer of Ferdinand, and Sunday Mirror Sport understands that he is considering a move if the 35-year-old becomes a free agent.” The Mirror adds: “Interim manager Ryan Giggs has urged the board to give Ferdinand an extra 12 months, but Louis van Gaal’s arrival will delay a decision.”
Paper Round’s view: It’s no surprise Wenger wants Ferdinand, after all, Mikael Silvestre was such a success when he brought his creaking legs to Arsenal from United. In all seriousness, Ferdinand is surely a busted flush at the top level of the Premier League and Arsenal should be wary of handing a big contract to a player who has been well below his best this season.
United want £45m Cesc deal. As you may have already ascertained, it is likely to be a very busy summer at Manchester United and the Daily Star Sunday claims Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas is again a target for the club as they aim to recapture their place amongst the English and European elite. The paper reports: “United failed to land Barcelona’s former Arsenal star nine months ago – but are aware Fabregas’ Nou Camp future is now in doubt. They also know it would take a fee of £45m and wages of £200k a week. The door was left open for United to return for Fabregas in this summer’s transfer window. But the final say will rest with United’s new manager, with Holland’s Louis van Gaal becoming frustrated that he still hasn’t been installed as David Moyes’ successor.”
Paper Round’s view: United’s failed pursuit of Fabregas last summer left the club looking rather silly, especially when they released an official statement to say they “respect everything Cesc has said” regarding staying at Barcelona. But if they are ready for a second shot they must have had real encouragement from the player’s camp. Perhaps this one has legs this time around.
Chelsea want Varane. According to Marca, Chelsea are making moves to bring in Real Madrid star Raphael Varane, a player Jose Mourinho exclusively told this website was the best young player in world football recently. The Frenchman was exceptional under Mourinho last season but has featured less under Carlo Ancelotti. Marca says: “From the very first moment, Mourinho could see that Varane had what it took to make it big time. Little by little he gave the player more and more minutes, rotating him with veteran defenders Pepe and Sergio Ramos.”
Paper Round says: Varane would be a tremendous signing for Chelsea and a long-term partner for Gary Cahill with John Terry a ageing force, despite a fine season for the skipper. Real are likely to be resistant to a sale but if Mourinho can convince Varane his career would be better served at Stamford Bridge, perhaps a deal could be done.
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