Manchester United bid £120m for Bale: The Sun and the Daily Mirror both lead their back pages with reports that Manchester United tabled a huge bid for Gareth Bale, but that the Welshman decided to go to Real Madrid instead. The Sun reports that United offered £120m, while the Mirror claims that it was £100m. The Mirror reports that, "the Tottenham winger flew back from Spain for talks with the champions before opting to move to Madrid for 'only' £86m."
Paper Round's view: These two stories hit the back pages courtesy of the confirmation offered yesterday by Real Madrid president Florentino Perez that United had made a bid for the Tottenham winger. Yet while the essence of that piece is true, it's hard to imagine that David Moyes would have offered so much for Bale when he'd refused to offer the extra two or three million required to land Leighton Baines. The Sun's £120m figure in particular is as close to utter fantasy as you'll ever read in a newspaper: Spurs chief Daniel Levy would have happily crawled through hell to recoup an extra £34 million for the sale of the club's prize asset.
Poyet in line to replace Di Canio: Former Brighton manager Gus Poyet is set to be offered the Sunderland job after the Uruguayan held talks with the Sunderland hierarchy. The Mirror reports: “Gus Poyet is set to be offered the chance to take over as Sunderland manager. The Premier League club launched their move to get former Brighton boss Poyet on Tuesday, having made him their No.1 target to replace the sacked Paolo Di Canio. The Black Cats' director of football Roberto de Fanti wants a young, track-suited gaffer who is good at man management following disciplinarian Di Canio’s reign ended in disaster.”
Paper Round's view: Poyet was suspended and then sacked by Brighton in June for gross misconduct. In one of the most bizarre dismissals, Poyet was given the news live on air whilst working as a pundit for the BBC. Before his dismissal, however, the former Chelsea player had turned around Brighton's fortunes with the South Coast side consistently pushing for promotion. Poyet's particular skills could bring about a change in Sunderland's fortunes as well. Let's just hope there's no naughtiness in the visitors' changing room this time round to derail his stint in charge.
Hughton has one game to save Norwich job: The Mirror report that Norwich City boss Chris Hughton could be sacked if his side lose to Stoke at the weekend. The Canaries have won just four times in 21 league appearances and, following a summer of big spending, the former Newcastle boss has come under fire with his side sitting 17th in the league table. Hughton signed a number of high-profile players such as Ricky van Wolfswinkel, Gary Hooper and Leroy Fer during the summer, but the new additions have failed to gel effectively as of yet.
Paper Round's view: Hughton was inexplicably sacked when at Newcastle but, despite not having the best of starts to the season, should not face the same fate with the East Anglia club. The Canaries scraped past Watford in the League Cup – coming from two goals down – and could really do with a win against Stoke, especially considering their next two games are against Arsenal and Chelsea. Having said all that, with Sunderland having got the first sacking of the season out of the way, it makes it that much easier for another football club board to pull the plug.
English clubs on alert as Juve stall on Pirlo deal: A host of English clubs including Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham could all be interested in a move for Italian midfield maestro Andrea Pirlo. The 34-year-old's contract is set to expire at the end of the season but, as the Daily Mail reports, Juventus may consider releasing him in January in recognition of his contribution with The Old Lady.
Paper Round's view: It's hard to believe that Juventus won't offer Pirlo another contract. And harder still to believe is the idea that they would let the evergreen midfielder leave one second before his contract is up. If that were the case, however, then Premier League big guns should do everything in their power to acquire the services of the Italian.
Barca to decide whether Song can 'leave for Man Utd': Barcelona are reportedly deciding on whether to let Alex Song leave in January, with Manchester United and AC Milan apparently keen on the player. The Express report: "Song is believed to be unhappy with his playing time at the Camp Nou, but with Barca having invested £16m to sign the 26-year-old last year, the club wants more time to decide whether to cut ties with the player. That could scupper any chance of a January move, with an end-of-season transfer seeming a more likely possibility at this stage.”
Paper Round's View: Former Arsenal man Song just hasn't been able to maintain a regular place in the star-studded Barca side since his move so it is no wonder he is growing increasingly frustrated at the lack of playing time. Barca will be looking to recoup most, if not all, of the money they spent on him. It remains to be seen whether Marouane Fellaini will cut it in a Manchester United shirt. Irrespective of that, United certainly are short of a dynamic midfielder and Song could just fit the bill.