United keen on Konoplyanka: Manchester United are set to rival Liverpool for the signature of £12 million Dnipro winger Yevhen Konoplyanka, according to the Daily Mirror. The Ukraine international has been heavily linked with a move to Anfield, but United have watched him several times, the latest being in a league match at the weekend. And it is understood the Manchester club are now just waiting for new boss Louis van Gaal to confirm he wants the player.
Paper Round's view: A sure-fire way for a new United manager to endear himself to fans is to get under the skin of Liverpool - and this deal would certainly do that. Liverpool were on the verge of signing Konoplyanka in January and were then confident of acquiring him this summer, but any move by United could well upset the apple cart, especially since the player's current club Dnipro are thought to be upset with Liverpool that a deal in the New Year did not go through. That said, a lack of European football could yet count against Van Gaal.
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Shaw goes house hunting in Cheshire: Manchester United target Luke Shaw has started house hunting in Cheshire, reports the Daily Mirror. That means the 18-year-old is ready to snub the advances of Chelsea to sign for United in a deal that could be worth over £27m. The paper claims that a deal should be completed in the next few days as Shaw's camp are now happy with all aspects of the switch. A source close to the family said: "Luke is still only 18 and his family want everything to be right for him. Where he lives and how he adjusts to a new city is a big thing for them - but now they are convinced about the move."
Paper Round's view: Apparently, Shaw's family is fairly close-knit, so where he lives in big bad Manchester is an important consideration to be taken into account. The leafy surrounds of Cheshire should allay any fears his family might have had - it's a rather pleasant place to live if you can afford it, and on his wages, Shaw most certainly will be able to. It seems United have got their man, which represents a huge coup, given that Chelsea appeared to be front-runners in the race for his signature not so long ago.
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Eight clubs chase Cole: Manchester City and Liverpool are among eight clubs who are chasing Ashley Cole, who admitted he is on his way out of Chelsea. The Daily Mail claims that the defender remains close with former Arsenal team-mate Patrick Vieira, who is now City's U21 coach, and their connection could sway Cole's decision. Monaco, New York Red Bulls, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal and Manchester United are also interested, according to the report.
Paper Round's view: The City link seems plausible, give that Cole's potential arrival at the Etihad would help the club in terms of their FFP sanctions; they have to include eight 'home-trained' players in their reduced 21-man Champions League squad, and by adding in Cole, at the expense of say, Aleksandar Kolarov, that pressure would be eased. Liverpool, however, would also be a reasonable destination for Cole, given that Brendan Rodgers' squad currently lacks the kind of experience needed for the Champions League. It may well end up being a case of who can offer Cole more money.
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Rooney central to United future: Van Gaal will try to convince Wayne Rooney that the striker is still central to Manchester United's plans, reports The Sun. With Robin van Persie set to be made United's new captain, there were concerns that Rooney - who was in line for the armband under David Moyes - may feel somewhat sidelined, but Van Gaal is determined to the pair can work together and become one of the most potent partnerships in the Premier League.
Paper Round's view: This has to be one of the issues Van Gaal has to address first once he takes over after the World Cup. Moyes, for all his failings, did superbly to persuade Rooney to stay at Old Trafford and get something approaching the best out of him last term; it is now Van Gaal's job to ensure that hard work is not wasted. If he can develop a relationship with Rooney half as good as that which he enjoys with Van Persie, United's ship should be set back on course before too long.
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City fine to go to other clubs: Every Premier League club would get a slice of Manchester City's world-record fine for breaching FFP regulations, according to The Telegraph. Plans being drawn up by UEFA about how to redistribute the fines levied from the sanctions announced last week, the paper claims. Even relegated Norwich City, Fulham and Cardiff City would receive their cut of what could end up being £50 million to be handed over by City.
Paper Round's view: Before anyone gets too excited, if the payments are distributed evenly, the reports states that the most each Premier League club stand to win is approximately £380,000 and the least £138,000 - which put into perspective is only a couple of weeks' wages for a top player. So the windfalls are hardly going to be life-changing, even for those clubs relegated. But still, the socialist standpoint of UEFA is as commendable as it is unexpected - who'd have thought the fat cats at European football's governing body would want to take from the rich and distribute to the poor (well, the not-so-rich)?
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