Premier League - Paper Round: United stars could join Prem rivals

Two Manchester United stars could join Premier League rivals; the ugly Cesc Fabregas to United rumour is back; Brendan Rodgers wants more control at United, and more from the Sunday papers.

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Premier League - Paper Round: United stars could join Prem rivals
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Arsenal to move for United defender: Arsenal will make a shock £13million move for Manchester United defender Chris Smalling this summer, according to the Daily Star. Emirates boss Arsene Wenger has been keen on Smalling since his days at Fulham. And Arsenal now believe United would be prepared to sell the England centre-back, who has added appeal to Wenger because he can also play at right-back. Smalling, 24, upset United boss David Moyes recently after he was pictured on a night out at 3am – when he was out of action through injury.

Paper Round's view: In an ideal world United would prefer not to sell to one of their rivals but needs must this summer. United plan a major overhaul of their squad and that means players must move out to allow new stars to move in – especially in the Financial Fair Play era. £13m seems about right for Smalling and as he is still only 24, he fits into Wenger's ideology of keeping one eye on the future – we wouldn't rule this one out.

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Welbeck wants out, Tottenham interested: Danny Welbeck wants to quit fallen champs Manchester United according to the Sun. The Old Trafford star has become increasingly frustrated by his lack of first-team appearances as a striker under new boss David Moyes. Meanwhile, according to the Mirror, Tottenham are weighing up a £20million move for Welbeck. The paper says Spurs are keen on Chelsea’s Everton loanee Romelu Lukaku – but the Belgian’s advisers are adamant that the player will only move to a club playing Champions League football next term, meaning Welbeck could be the alternative option.

Paper Round's view: Whether to keep or sell Welbeck looks like a tough decision for United. He is what you would call the perfect "squad player": he can put in a shift from the start, can play wide if needs be or can be an impact sub. However, he is also not quite at the level you would want from a guaranteed week-in, week-out starter; and if that is what he wants to be, United might have to let him go. If they can get £20m for the England star, that seems like a good bit of business. Tottenham will certainly be looking for a new striker in the summer, whether Welbeck is their man, will depend on the wishes of their new manager, if, as is generally assumed, Tim Sherwood is replaced.

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United back on Fabregas trail: Manchester United have been put on red alert after it emerged Barcelona are considering selling £40million-rated Cesc Fabregas, according to the Sun. Old Trafford boss David Moyes spent last summer chasing the former Arsenal skipper and had two bids turned down before Fabregas decided to stay. But Barcelona are in turmoil and the midfielder, 26, could be part of a big summer clear-out along with Dani Alves, Carles Puyol, Alexis Sanchez and crocked keeper Victor Valdes.

Paper Round's view: Nooooooo – not this rumour again. Please give us a stiff drink. Barcelona would love to freshen up their squad in the summer but let us not forget they are currently under a transfer ban. Even if they get that overturned though, selling one of their younger midfielders is not exactly looking to the future. We can't see this one happening.

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Premier League giants chasing Griezmann: Antoine Griezmann will be the summer target for a cluster of Premier League clubs – with Manchester United, Liverpool and Everton joining Arsenal in the race for the 23-year-old French winger, according to the Sunday Mirror. Griezmann has excelled for Real Sociedad this season and it is understood that the Spanish club will listen to offers around the £20million mark.

Paper Round's view: Griezmann is a top talent and the time seems right for him to take the step-up to a bigger club but where he ends up remains to be seen. Liverpool will certainly be looking for a wide-man, United are going to be flashing the cash, and Arsenal have the strong French influence, so all are potential landing spots. However, if PSG come in for the player, the English clubs could end up disappointed.

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United ready to gazump City and Chelsea for Cavani: Manchester United are ready to flex their muscles in the transfer market by taking on both Manchester City and Chelsea for PSG’s Edinson Cavani, according to the Daily Mail. The club are in pursuit of ‘platinum players’ this summer, all before the future of David Moyes has been ratified. Chief Executive Ed Woodward has been given the green light to outbid both City and Chelsea in pursuit of the coveted striker.

Paper Round's view: These Cavani rumours seem to be swirling around and rotating from club to club every second day. We suspect his agent might be involved. He could easily move to the Premier League but it looks like a complicated deal to pull off and certainly money could play a big factor. We suspect Chelsea will go for Diego Costa and it is doubtful whether City even need a £50m striker. United might be able to push the deal through if they are willing to pay the big bucks.

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Rodgers wants more control of transfers and a pay rise: Brendan Rodgers wants a long-term contract that will enable him to build a dynasty at Liverpool, according to the Sunday Mirror. The Kop boss will demand more control over transfer policy when he opens talks about extending a deal that expires at the end of next season. And he has also hinted that he will want a significant pay hike to recognise how he has taken the team to within touching distance of the Premier League title.

Paper Round's view: Liverpool's amazing title challenge means Rodgers has picked the perfect time to open contract negotiations. The pay rise shouldn't be a problem for all concerned but the transfer power might be something the club will resist as when Rodgers was given full control early in his tenure he failed to convince. The club's better recent signings like Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho were only picked out once the club moved to a transfer committee. We imagine a compromise will be reached but Liverpool need to be careful not to push their luck as Rodgers, a fluent Spanish speaker, could become an appealing option for Barcelona who are sure to change their manager in the summer.

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