United set for 'Chumpions League': Manchester United are planning to play a series of lucrative overseas friendlies if they miss out on European football next season. Most papers have the same story, with The Sun and the Daily Mirror going one step further with exactly the same headline across their back pages. United are in danger of failing to qualify for either the Champions League or the Europa League, leading to a plan to send the team trotting across the globe during free midweeks next season in a bid to recoup lost revenue from a lack of European football. The United States and the Middle East are two likely destinations.
Paper Round's view: United stand to miss out on around £25 million if they fail to qualify for either European competition and, while that may only equate to a couple of hours of Wayne Rooney's time, it would be remiss of the club not to address the shortfall. Understandably, overseas fixtures appeal to the club's money men; whether the players or the manager approve of the idea is another matter altogether. United's main aim, should they fail this season, will be to get back into Europe next. Yet it's difficult to see how jetting off to Miami on a Tuesday in the middle of the season is going to help that aim. And imagine the outcry if one of the players should pick up an injury on one of these jaunts.
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United ramp up Carvalho chase: David Moyes has identified the answer to his midfield woes - a 21-year-old who is one of the poorest-paid top flight players in Europe. The Daily Mail reveals that Sporting's William Carvalho currently earns 5,000 euros a month - that's just £4,129, or put another way, what Wayne Rooney really earns in a few hours. Aware of interest from United and Atletico Madrid, Sporting are trying to redress the situation by offering the player a 900 per cent pay hike to 50,000 a month, but United are willing to triple that figure. Despite the pitiful wages (for a professional footballer) Carvalho has a 45 million euro (£37.16m) release clause in his current contract, which United are loathe to meet. However, the paper reports that Sporting could be willing to negotiate and are ready to accept around £24m.
Paper Round's view: It beggars belief that a player as in demand as Carvalho can earn so little in a profession blighted by grotesquely bloated wages. Yet at the same time it's rather refreshing to hear. Still, it's all going to change soon, whether he stays at Sporting or moves elsewhere. As for United, is this the kind of transfer they will be left to hope for if they fail to qualify for European football next season? A young, enthusiastic but largely untried at the highest level player who is champing at the bit to sign for a big club and substantially increasing their wages, regardless of what competition they will have the chance to play in? Perhaps so, and the club's chances of getting in big-name, finished articles are over for the time being.
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United chase young German prospect: Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror reports that United will look to Freiburg's £10 million-rated defender Matthias Ginter to replace Nemanja Vidic at the end of the season. David Moyes was in Germany on Friday to run the rule over the 20-year-old, who is rated as one of the best young centre-backs in the Bundesliga.
Paper Round's view: As if to prove the aforementioned point...
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Soldado set for Spurs exit: Roberto Soldado could be offered an escape route from Tottenham by Atletico Madrid, reports the Daily Mirror. The misfiring striker may be an option for the Spanish club at a cut-price to replace in-demand Diego Costa in the summer. Chelsea are leading the race to lure Costa away from Atletico at the end of the season and the Liga club see £26m flop Soldado as an ideal replacement.
Paper Round's view: It's no secret that Soldado has found adapting to the Premier League a little tough - his performances on the pitch are testament to that - and Spurs can increasingly ill afford to allow players time to bed in - they need instant results, given their investment in the team. So it would come as no surprise to see Soldado head back to his homeland in the summer. That would be a shame, given his undeniable talent, but it would just go to show that not everyone is made for the Premier League.
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Arsenal to return for Morata: Arsene Wenger is ready to rekindle his interest in Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata, according to the Daily Telegraph. Arsenal inquired about the possibility of taking the 21-year-old to the Emirates on loan in January, but he was not released by the Spanish giants. But the paper understands that Morata is keen on a permanent switch to the Gunners in the summer, and Wenger is ready to make a move.
Paper Round's view: The path appears clear for Arsenal to secure the services of Morata - Real will surely buy a new striker in the summer and at £15m, not even Wenger will baulk at the price. Still, the Gunners will need another new addition in the striking department, so their pursuit of Julian Draxler should not be affected by the possible arrival of Morata.
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