Arsenal identify potential replacement for Wenger: Arsenal have a candidate lined up in case contract renewal talks with Arsene Wenger fail, reports the Daily Star. The Gunners hierarchy have identified Juventus coach Antonio Conte as the man they want to lead the club into a new era, should Wenger, who put talks on hold over a new deal during the summer and has since commented that he will judge whether he deserves to lead the club beyond 2014, decide to leave.
Paper Round's view: Like Sir Alex Ferguson, Wenger's reign has to come to an end at some time, and it increasingly seems that time will be decided by him, not by the Arsenal board. Whether he pulls down the curtain on his 17-year career in North London in May 2014 though very much depends on winning a trophy this season. And with absolutely no guarantees over that, Arsenal would be shrewd to at least start thinking about a possible replacement. Having won consecutive Serie A titles since taking over at Juventus, Conte certainly has the kind of credentials to put him in the frame for the job.
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Fergie eases Rooney exit fears: Ferguson's praise for Wayne Rooney has eased fears the striker is still not happy at Manchester United and keen to leave Old Trafford, according to the Daily Telegraph. Ferguson has finally broken his silence over the forward to claim he is back to his best form, after the deterioration in the pair's relationship led to intense speculation over the summer that Rooney would be heading elsewhere.
Paper Round's view: The Telegraph makes a good point that is worth repeating: "Ironically, by signalling Rooney’s return to top billing with his positive comments, Ferguson may now have strengthened the player’s position should he and his advisers pursue the new contract which is likely to be offered by the club later this year." Indeed, this is far from the nail in the coffin of Rooney's transfer saga.
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Glazers to sell off more shares: The Times reports that the Glazer family are planning another share sale that could pocket Manchester United's American owners more than £240 million. The paper claims that the Glazers would be in line to add about £243 million to the £70 million they earned when United were listed on the New York Stock Exchange 13 months ago, should they successfully sell 23 million of their shares in the coming months.
Paper Round's view: 'How to antagonise already disgruntled United fans 101' - really, the Glazers could do little more at the moment to further wind up the club's fan base. The report states that this latest move would "drive another wedge" between them and the fans, but that's putting it nicely. Considering the huge debt the Glazers initially put on the club, the record revenues of £363 million for the past financial year and their failure to bag anyone better than Marouane Fellaini in their transfer dealings over the summer, fans could be forgiven for thinking this is the last straw.
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Crisis talks at Chelsea: The Daily Mail reports that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has held "crisis talks" with his squad after their successive defeats. The Portuguese demanded immediate improvements from his players during a meeting with the entire squad at Cobham, the report claims. "Some of the points raised by Mourinho at Cobham have been interpreted as ‘constructive’ and ‘positive’, but a number of players were left in no doubt their places are under threat," the paper said.
Paper Round's view: Two defeats on the bounce is hardly a crisis; give Mourinho and his players time and they will prove themselves. And doesn't a manager meet with his players after every game anyway?
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'Powerhouse' Sakho breaks fitness machine: New Liverpool recruit Mamadou Sakho has "already proved he packs a punch", reports the Daily Mirror. The imposing defender - labelled a "monster" by Brendan Rodgers - broke one of the cardiovascular machines in the Reds' gym during his medical for the £15 million switch from Paris Saint-Germain he made at the start of the month.
Paper Round's view: The article gives off the impression that such is Sakho's raw strength, he unwittingly destroyed a machine at Liverpool's gym. Which is great, since we all love a comic book-style brute. Then comes his quote: "It’s true that one of the machines did break. Something went wrong with it, so they had to fix it, not reinforce it." Oh well.
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