United set to splash £80m on new recruits: Manchester United are poised to spend £80 million on three players in a bid to turn Louis van Gaal's squad into Premier League contenders, reports the Daily Mail. Angel di Maria, Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind are the names in the frame to join the United revolution with executive vice chairman Ed Woodward in Cardiff for last night's Super Cup clash ahead of talks with Real Madrid over Di Maria. Meanwhile Di Maria’s Argentina team-mate Rojo refused to train at Sporting and has asked to leave the club now United have declared their interest, and Dutch international Blind - valued at £15m by Ajax - has already admitted he is flattered by interest from United and Barcelona.
Paper Round's view: Yesterday, in his blog, Paul Parker asked the question: where are United's big name signings? Well, there's a hint of what might be to come with today's back page of the Mail, but still nothing has been signed, sealed and delivered. And while Woodward is in Cardiff to meet Real over Di Maria and Rojo is refusing refusal to train - encouraging signs - the report adds little on the Blind situation. Still, there's over two weeks remaining for United to bring in new blood. No need to panic yet.
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Rooney set for England captaincy: New Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney is set to be handed the England armband too, reports The Times. The striker was confirmed as his club's next skipper following the friendly win over Valencia and Roy Hodgson is set to follow Louis van Gaal's lead by naming him as Steven Gerrard's successor in the national side.
Paper Round's view: With Gerrard retired and vice-captain Lampard unlikely to see much more action for England, Rooney presents himself as a realistic candidate. That he will lead out his club this season only makes his appointment for England even more plausible.
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Arsenal target Greek defender: Olympiacos defender Kostas Manolas has emerged as a target for Arsenal as Arsene Wenger seeks to bolster his squad following the departure of Thomas Vermaelen. The Daily Telegraph reports that Wenger is torn between signing an out-and-out central defender and trying to sign somebody who can fulfil a number of positions. That said, Manolas would be a direct replacement for Vermaelen at centre-back, although it remains to be seen whether the Greece international would swap a starting berth at Olympiacos for a place on the Gunners bench. William Carvalho and Luiz Gustavo are more high profile and versatile options for Wenger.
Paper Round's view: Manolas impressed at the World Cup - he was even named one of the best 50 players at the tournament in Brazil - but he is unlikely to usurp Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker from Wenger's starting XI. He may even struggle to get ahead of Calum Chambers in the pecking order, so perhaps it is unlikely this deal with go through. If it does, however, Wenger will have done well to widen his options at the back and provide competition for the aforementioned trio.
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Garcia set to leave City for Zenit: Javi Garcia is set to move to Zenit St Petersburg in a deal worth nearly £13m, according to the Guardian. The Manchester City midfielder's hopes of winning more first-team action were diminished further by the arrival of Fernando from Porto but at Zenit he can expect to be an automatic starter under coach Andre Villas-Boas in Russia. The Spaniard would be sold for a fee of £12m plus a further £800,000 in add-ons, the report claims, with a deal expected to be announced on Thursday.
Paper Round's view: It does appear that Garcia's time is up at the Etihad, which is a shame because not so long ago he was considered to be the next big thing in the holding midfield role. But, like many others at City, he has fallen victim to the intense competition for places in a squad containing some exceptionally talented players.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Manchester United
- Premier League
- Arsene Wenger
- Marcos Rojo
- Angel di Maria
- Louis van Gaal