Premier League - Paper Round: Angry Van Gaal to make £100m splurge

Manchester United are set to spend £100m on five new players, the Sunday papers report. But does the story stand up to scrutiny?


Van Gaal demands five players for £100m: Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has given chief executive Ed Woodward a transfer wishlist consisting of five players, according to The Sun. The men in question are Angel Di Maria, Daley Blind and centre-backs Mats Hummels, Thomas Vermaelen, and Stefan De Vrij, and would cost a combined £100 million. United have made significant funds available to Van Gaal, even though they have already spent a combined £56m on Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw. Although still saddled with interest payments on the Glazers’ debt, United still turn a massive profit and have no concerns over Financial Fair Play. This would amount to a huge squad overhaul if all the transfer were to come off.

Paper Round’s view: Despite another win on their pre-season tour - this time against Roma - United were far from convincing with Van Gaal cutting an angry figure on the touchline as his side almost let a three-goal lead slip, so he may very well want to provide further surgery on what he has described as an unbalanced squad. But there is one big problem, however, as this story is so flimsy it falls apart almost the instant it comes into contact with direct sunlight. United will only spent £100m IF they sign all five abovementioned players. But they won’t, as they have little realistic chance of landing either Di Maria and Hummels who would make up the bulk of the fee. United know this but it’s not clear if The Sun does – it blithely states: “Van Gaal wants United to be first in the queue if Real opt to sell the Argentine Di Maria,” apparently unaware that Paris Saint-Germain are close to prising him from Real Madrid. And if we rule out Di Maria and Hummels, we’re left with three more plausible targets, but ones we have known about for ages. It’s nothing more than a tired recycling of old transfer rumours. Furthermore, if United were to sell then they would have to considerably trim their squad.

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West Ham in audacious Eto’o bid: Still with The Sun on Sunday, a genuinely interesting story with quotes and everything (albeit from an unnamed source). Reeling from Andy Carroll’s latest injury setback, West Ham boss Sam Allardyce has set his sights on Eto’o, who is a free agent after leaving Chelsea. The Sun’s source described the proposal as “interesting” but Juventus and QPR are also interested in the Cameroonian.

Paper Round’s view: This is more like it from The Sun. Leaving aside that Samuel Eto’o plays nothing like Andy Carroll, this seems to fit the grand Sam Allardyce tradition of squeezing the last drops of quality out of veterans like Youri Djorkaeff and Ivan Campo. Eto’o apparently enjoys living in London, making West Ham a perfectly reasonable option for a short-term deal.

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Real Madrid line up Lukaku move: What do you get the team that has Karim Benzema and one of the world’s most prolific goalscorers in Cristiano Ronaldo? That’s right, another striker! Real want back-up to Benzema, and are considering Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku as a rather high-end benchwarmer, claims the Sunday Express. Didier Drogba’s return to Chelsea has pushed the Belgian further down the pecking order, providing further evidence that Jose Mourinho’s just not that into him. As such, a £20m offer could be enough to prise Lukaku from Stamford Bridge.

Paper Round’s view: Far be it from us to question the Express’s sources, but this looks rather similar to the story that graced the front page of Spanish paper AS yesterday – and which of course you heard about in Saturday’s Euro Papers, right down to Real’s other option of loaning Radamel Falcao from Monaco. AS certainly have good contacts at Real, but they also pump out a lot of nonsense – much as Los Blancos aren’t averse to stockpiling talent, this does seem like overkill. If Benzema stays, how on earth with Carlo Ancelotti give his forwards enough playing time to keep them happy. It’s instructive that Lukaku is described as a replacement for Alvaro Morata – the man who bolted for Juventus after starting just three Liga games last season.

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Sunday Express Lukaku story

Liverpool to land Belgian World Cup star: As for the man who ousted Lukaku from Belgian’s World Cup side, Divock Origi, the Sunday Mirror reckons he is close to confirming his move to Liverpool. The 19-year-old has rejected Arsenal, Tottenham and Atletico Madrid and will move to Anfield in a £12.5m move. The player’s dad has flown to the US to talk to club officials about the deal, which will see him loaned back to current club Lille for the 2014/15 season.

Paper Round’s view: This seems to have the ring of truth to it, and shows the value of Liverpool being able to offer Champions League football. That said, it’s slightly surprising that Origi will return to Lille on loan rather than staying at Anfield where he has every chance of making an impact following Luis Suarez’s departure. Although Brendan Rodgers’s transfer record isn’t stellar, Liverpool’s young players have thrived under his stewardship and the club seems a logical destination for Origi.

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