Barcelona are still willing to offer Luis Suarez an escape route following his "World Cup bite shame", according to the Daily Mirror. The Spanish club have not been put off by Tuesday's incident and are willing to offer Liverpool Alexis Sanchez as part of an £80 million player-plus-cash deal. The paper reports that Real Madrid's interest has cooled in the wake of the bust-up with Giorgio Chiellini but Barca remain keen and may even add in Spain winger Pedro to the deal. Chile star Sanchez has also been linked with Manchester United and Arsenal.
Paper Round's view: In the past, Barcelona have prided themselves on the club's squeaky-clean image; a move for Suarez would surely only sully that. Yet this could be an ideal (given the difficult current situation) solution for Liverpool, who must have been fearing their most saleable asset's value had plummeted after the Uruguay-Italy match. Not so, apparently, and in Sanchez, they could snare a more than adequate replacement. Throw in Pedro too, and the Reds could well have a great deal on their hands.
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Kop legends want Suarez out: Liverpool icons have been lining up to demand Suarez is kicked out of Anfield, reports the Sun. Robbie Fowler (“You can’t defend him. He’s continually dragging the club’s name through the mud”) and Phil Thompson (“He’s brought embarrassment and shame on our club”) have both spoken out against Suarez, who is also in danger of losing sponsors over the incident. Gambling company 888poker is reviewing their relationship with brand ambassador Suarez (“We will not tolerate unsporting behaviour”) while Adidas met in Rio to discuss the third biting incident of his controversial career.
Paper Round's view: Certainly Suarez's time at Anfield appears to be over - even if it wasn't already pre-bite. Suarez has surely now burnt his bridges with Liverpool, who have so far stood by him through thick and thin. But there must be a point where the club simply cannot defend him any more. That point may well have been during the second half of the match in Natal the other day.
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Hotel expected England exit: England's underwhelming World Cup campaign does not appear to have come as a surprise to the hotel they have been staying in. The Daily Telegraph reports that the Royal Tulip clearly anticipated the Three Lions' early departure, with the place already "heaving with new guests" as England staff were still dismantling the team games room and meeting room. Only a few rooms were available, the report adds. Most traces of the 72-strong England party having ever been there have already been "airbrushed out".
Paper Round's view: Few have been surprised by England's failure to get out of their group, and equally there should be no surprises that the hotel has managed to fill out the space left by England's entourage - even without Roy Hodgson's side, there is still a World Cup going on, believe it or not. And that means plenty of fans are looking for somewhere to stay, and who wouldn't want to stay in such a plush residence, right on the beach?
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Fan welcomes England back home: England arrived back home but not to a heroes' welcome, reports Metro. Hardly any fanfare greeted the private plane carrying the Three Lions squad as it first touched down at Manchester Airport and then Luton, to drop off southern-based players.
Paper Round's view: Did they deserve a heroes' welcome? Of course not. This is exactly what the players should have been expecting after such a dismal showing in Brazil. They could even count themselves lucky there was not more of a crowd to greet them - they might have been on the receiving end of some choice words had there been.
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Balotelli not going to Arsenal: Italy striker Mario Balotelli will not be joining Arsenal for next season, the Sun reports. Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has suggested that the AC Milan star is not on his shopping list, despite rumours to the contrary earlier this summer.
Paper Round's view: “We cannot believe absolutely everything that is on the internet or in the papers," Wenger said. So if you're reading this on the internet, remember to take Wenger's words with a pinch of salt.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Luis Suarez
- Alexis Sanchez