Mata could force Arsenal move: Juan Mata will have to submit an official transfer request if he wants to push through a move to Arsenal before the transfer deadline on Monday night, reports the Sunday People. The Spaniard was arguably Chelsea’s best player last season, but has hardly featured under Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger has confirmed his interest in the 25-year-old. However Mourinho is not keen to sell Mata, which would be an unpopular move, leaving the player to insist on a £30m switch.
Paper Round’s view: Mata finds himself in something of a pickle. He is clearly out of favour with his manager and will be desperate for regular football ahead of the World Cup. A move to Arsenal would suit him perfectly, but Chelsea remain understandably reluctant to sell a fans’ favourite to their London rivals. Unless Arsenal are prepared to open their wallet, Mata could be left frustratingly in limbo on the fringes at Chelsea.
- - -
Bale saga inches towards conclusion: For the final time, the Sunday papers have a chance to lead on the Gareth Bale to Real Madrid story. The Sunday Express reckons the deal could end up worth as much as £150 million, while the Observer reports that Real have had to dismantle the stage they built to present Bale because they have a home game on Sunday.
Paper Round’s view: While estimates vary about the fee, what nobody is in any doubt about is that the deal will go through before Monday night’s deadline. Real have been delayed by the tough negotiating stance of Spurs chief executive Daniel Levy, it is inconceivable that Bale will stay, especially with Tottenham having already spent £110m on new players this summer.
- - -
Chelsea want another striker: Despite signing Samuel Eto’o, the Mail on Sunday reports that Jose Mourinho wants another option up front. The Portuguese appears unconvinced by the three forwards he inherited – Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Romelu Lukaku, who missed the decisive penalty in Friday’s UEFA Super Cup against Bayern Munich, and has spent the summer trying to sign Rooney.
Paper Round’s view: The MoS article is realistic enough about Mourinho’s chances of getting his preferred targets Wayne Rooney, Robert Lewandowski and Karim Benzema. This feels more like the manager’s way of keeping pressure on Roman Abramovich and letting him know that, come January, he expects to have money to spend.
- - -
United eye five midfielders: The Daily Star on Sunday goes with a big, if rather vague, splash on Manchester United’s efforts to sign up a midfielder. The tabloid identifies five potential targets for David Moyes – Daniele De Rossi, Marouane Fellaini, Ilkay Gundogan, Luka Modric, Ander Herrera. The Star reckons United will try to loan De Rossi from Roma.
Paper Round’s view: This story is just Cesc Fabregas away from being a greatest hits collection of all the midfielders United have been linked with this summer. There’s a good chance United will get somebody, but by linking them with five players the paper only confirms it is peeing in the wind. And Roma agreeing to loan De Rossi seems spectacularly unlikely.
- - -
Everton to spend Fellaini/Baines dough: The Sunday Mirror reckons Everton will move swiftly if Manchester United come in with an improved bid for Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines. Though manager Roberto Martinez wants to keep the pair, he has put a contingency plan in place if they do leave – James McCarthy, Ryan Bertrand and Bruno Martins Indi will be the players to come in for a combined £30m.
Paper Round’s view: Fellaini certainly looks the most likely big signing for United and McCarthy, who played under Martinez at Wigan, looks a logical replacement who is far too good for the Championship. Things rarely work as neatly as the Mirror suggests, but it seems clear Everton expect a final push from United for their star players.