Chelsea ‘convinced of Rooney deal’ - It never rains but it pours for Manchester United and David Moyes. Wayne Rooney has been comfortably one of United’s better players this season but according to the Telegraph on Friday morning, Jose Mourinho is expecting to sign the striker in the summer and, as such, as rejected the chance to get a stop-gap solution in the January transfer window. The paper says “Manchester United’s crisis has only strengthened Mourinho’s belief that he can eventually land Rooney for a reasonable fee, with the 28-year-old’s contract running down [at the end of next season].”
Meanwhile, The Times also chips in by claiming Rooney is “seriously considering” leaving the club and is expected to delay a decision over his future until the end of the World Cup finals in Brazil this summer. James Ducker writes that “Rooney is flattered by Chelsea’s continuing interest.”
Paper Round’s view: Moyes’ ability to bring Rooney back into the fold this summer when his future seemed certain to lie away from Old Trafford has been one of his few tangible achievements in the job so far, and the renewed speculation over the striker’s future is unwelcome indeed. With apparent briefings from both the Rooney and Chelsea camps being published simultaneously today, United’s hold on their star asset looks rather weak once again.
QPR plot late Defoe swoop - Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe is believed to be on the brink of confirming a move to Toronto FC but according to the Mirror there is late interest from QPR boss Harry Redknapp, who has already managed the striker at Spurs, Portsmouth and West Ham. The twist? Redknapp wants to sign him on loan before the MLS season starts in March.
Paper Round’s view: This seems an awfully convoluted deal and surely Toronto are going to want Defoe to link up with his new team-mates as soon as possible having invested so much in the player – who will be one of the most high-profile signings for MLS since David Beckham. Redknapp might not be able to wheel and deal this time…
Saints star a target for Italian giants - According to the Daily Mail, Southampton’s summer signing Pablo Osvaldo is wanted by Inter. The Azzurri striker has failed to properly settle since a £15m move from Roma, scoring three goals in 13 games in the league. The Mail also says Inter will offer Chelsea target Fredy Guarin in part exchange.
Paper Round’s view: Two goals in December seemed to herald an upturn in form for Osvaldo and Mauricio Pochettino appears determined to keep hold of the striker. However, the lure of Guarin could prove strong for the Saints. This one might have some legs.
United, Liverpool frustrated by star’s snub - Ivan Rakitic is hot property having scored eight goals and claimed six assists in 16 games for Sevilla this season but the Daily Express carries quotes from the Croatia playmaker which indicate he will not be prepared to countenance offers from English clubs in January, most notably Liverpool and Manchester United.
Paper Round’s view: While Rakitic opens with ”For the time being, I only think about Sevilla”, the fact he later goes on to admit that “anything is possible” somewhat waters down the Express’ stance on the matter. Still, it would take a big bid for anything to be done in January, and a summer saga appears more likely.