Costa top of Gunner's wish list: Arsenal will pull out all the stops to sign striker Diego Costa from Atletico Madrid this month, reports the Daily Star. The Brazil-born hotshot has a £32 million buy-out clause in his contract in Spain, and with Arsene Wenger facing a striker crisis the Gunners are "ready" to splash out this month. The report adds that Chelsea are also interested in the 25-year-old, who has scored 19 in 17 La Liga games this season, although the Blues will not make a move until next summer.
Paper Round's view: Arsenal certainly need cover in the striking department, with both Olivier Giroud and Nicklas Bendtner currently out injured, and Costa is undoubtedly a fine player: his 19 Liga goals so far this term is one more than Cristiano Ronaldo, while Messi has just eight this season. But traditionally big business is not done in January and with Atleti performing so well in Spain, it would be a surprise if Costa agreed to move elsewhere before the summer.
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Chelsea bid for Higuain rejected: Chelsea's attempts to lure Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuaín to Stamford Bridge have failed after a £50 million bid was rejected by the Italian club. The Daily Telegraph reports that Napoli have given Chelsea no encouragement in their efforts to land the Argentina international and insist he is not for sale. But Roman Abramovich is willing to back Jose Mourinho in the transfer market, the paper claims, and with Wolfsburg keen to sign Kevin De Bruyne, there could be another £25m available.
Paper Round's view: The signs aren't promising for Chelsea fans wanting to welcome Higuaín to west London - not only do Napoli want to keep their man, the player himself said recently that he wants "to help this team to grow and write history with Napoli" - not the words of a man who is seeking pastures new.
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Mata's days at Chelsea numbered: Following on from yesterday's story about Juan Mata's future at Chelsea, the Daily Express reports that the Spain international's agent rang the club to demand answers after he was substituted again by Jose Mourinho. Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Napoli are preparing bids for the player, dubbed a "misfit" by the paper, after it emerged the club are willing to let him go out on loan. Manchester United and Tottenham are also keen on securing the services of the playmaker, but Chelsea are reluctant to sell to domestic rivals. Inter Milan is also a possible destination, while the Daily Mirror claims Liverpool is another potential suitor. That paper adds that sources close to Mata "are adamant he will not push for a move and that he will only leave this month if it is made clear he has no future at Stamford Bridge". But Mourinho is expected to confirm on Friday that he is not seeking to sell the player.
Paper Round's view: The "door is open" for Mata to leave, but the club doesn't want him to go and he doesn't want to quit as long as the club wants him there. So what's the problem? There shouldn't be one, yet you can't help but feel this one is going to run and run all month long. And then on into the summer. And then probably most of the summer as well. Ho hum.
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Allardyce survives axe: West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has survived crisis talks at the club, reports the Daily Telegraph. The Hammers boss met with co-owner David Sullivan and vice-chairman Karren Brady about a range of topics associated with the slide into the relegation zone, although his position reportedly may yet to come under review after the trip to fellow Premier League strugglers Cardiff City this weekend.
Paper Round's view: Allardyce might have survived the latest talks, but he is most certainly still treading a fine line. He has not been helped by a spate of injuries but there is only one thing that will keep him in a job now - results.
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Liverpool to loan out Sterling: Raheem Sterling could be set for a loan move to Swansea if Liverpool land Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah, reports the Daily Mirror. The Welsh club are one of a number to reportedly be interested in the 19-year-old, while Liverpool hold talks over a potential five-year, £8 million deal for Basel winger Salah.
Paper Round's view: Sterling has been in good form of late - he has found the back of the net three times in his last seven appearances - but if Salah does arrive at Anfield, those chances to impress will become sparse. A loan move away to another Premier League club makes sense for all parties, and the England midfielder could flourish at the Liberty Stadium.
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