‘City want to sign Barca legend, for another club’ - Manchester City are exploring the possibility of making Barcelona star Xavi the marquee signing for the club’s Major League Soccer franchise in the United States, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph. New York City will not play in the MLS until 2015, by which time Xavi will be aged 35 and will have one year remaining on his Barcelona contract. It is understood that Manchester City chiefs are showing strong interest in Xavi, as they formulate plans over how their New York club can make the biggest possible impact in the MLS.
Paper Round’s view: Having spent his entire career at Barca, Xavi has spoken of retiring at the Nou Camp but last week suggested that he could see out his playing days elsewhere by saying: “Being tied to Barcelona is a privilege, but I don’t know what will happen in the future.” That being said, he clearly wishes to stay at the club as long as he is still valued. A move to America would be non-offensive at such an age, but surely he’s best off just staying at the Camp Nou until he retires now.
‘United plot double move for midfielders’ - David Moyes has held talks with Juventus’s chief transfer negotiator after planning a bold double move for Paul Pogba and Arturo Vidal, according to a report in the Daily Mail. The Manchester United manager met boardroom boss Beppe Marotta after Juventus’s game at Cagliari on Sunday and discussed the possibility of signing either, or both, of his top two targets. Paris Saint-Germain’s interest and willingness to offer Pogba a route back to his home city is likely to push the asking price beyond £40 million. He is understood to favour PSG but has not ruled out a second spell at Old Trafford.
Paper Round’s view: Zinedine Zidane said Pogba’s departure from United 18 months ago was ‘the biggest mistake of Sir Alex Ferguson’s career’, but Moyes appears to be clinging to the hope he can rectify it, despite the cost. However, it seems very unlikely that Pogba would want to trade a blossoming career in Italy for a struggling United - particularly having been intensely frustrated with his lack of playing time and treatment at the club in his previous spell.
‘Everton want to poach another Prem striker’ - Everton are interested in signing Kenwyne Jones from Stoke City and are trying to complete a deal for the striker for as little as £1m, according to a report in The Guardian. The 29-year-old has less than six months left on his contract and Stoke would welcome the chance to move him on but the Midlands club are holding out for closer to £3m. Jones is understood to be keen for the transfer to happen but he has upset Stoke by failing to report for Sunday's match against Liverpool at the Britannia Stadium
Paper Round’s view: It appears certain that Jones will be shown the door at Stoke, but with Crystal Palace and other clubs circling for Peter Crouch too, Mark Hughes will have to be very careful about who he lets go. With only six months remaining on his contract, it is inevitable that Jones will move on, either in this window or the summer, but Everton hardly need him in their ranks. With Romelu Lukaku only on loan, however, Roberto Martinez will be thinking ahead.
‘Palace and QPR to fight over West Ham striker’ - Carlton Cole is set to decide on his future within the next 48 hours, according to a report in the Daily Mirror. The in-form West Ham striker's short term deal expired yesterday. It means the Irons striker , who netted the first goal in the club's crucial 2-0 win at Cardiff on Saturday, is now a free agent with QPR boss Harry Redknapp keen on his services. Crystal Palace are also keen. The Hammers should now discover today if they will get a work permit for 6ft 8in striker Lacina Traore, 23, who they hope to take from Monaco. A decision was delayed after a hearing yesterday.
Paper Round’s view: If Cole moves to either Loftus Road or Selhurst Park then West Ham could find themselves in a pickle ahead of the Newcastle game. Record signing Andy Carroll is not yet fit enough to play 90 minutes while Modibo Maiga is the club's only other available centre-forward. Allardyce, who made a personal appearance at Traore's hearing, would surely be keen not to let Cole slip through his fingers, but he may well have no choice.