United to go to war with Everton over pursuit of Fellaini, Baines: The Daily Mirror reports that Manchester United are set to return to Everton with separate bids for Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines after having their initial £28m joint bid dismissed as “derisory and insulting”. Everton were left incensed by the bid, but the Mirror reports that the reigning Premier League champions are set to continue their pursuit of the pair. “Despite Everton's anger, United are in no mood to back down and are ready to up their offer to £33m,” the paper reports. “It is understood United are prepared to pay £21m for Fellaini and £12m for Baines, and will make one last attempt to prise the pair away from Goodison Park.”
Paper Round’s view: Even £21m for Fellaini is well short of the £23.5m release clause that expired at the end of last month, so Everton will surely hold out for more for the Belgian star. As for Baines, with two years on his contract and at the age of 28, £12m seems a little low. Paper Round's best guess is that United will push the boat out to land Fellaini but Baines is 50/50.
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Martinez eyeing McCarthy, Barry as back-up option: The Guardian reports that Roberto Martinez is keeping an eye on James McCarthy at Wigan as a potential replacement for Fellaini, should he be sold. The Spaniard has also made an inquiry about signing Gareth Barry on a season-long loan deal from Manchester City.
Paper Round’s view: The very existence of a contingency plan for "what happens when Fellaini leaves" suggests that Martinez thinks he might well be on his way. And McCarthy in particular would be a good addition to the Everton squad, with Martinez having managed the Irishman at Wigan for the past four seasons.
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Arsenal to continue Cabaye pursuit, also bidding for Pogba: The Daily Telegraph reports that Arsene Wenger’s bid for Yohan Cayabe not only irritated Newcastle in its timing - just hours before the club’s start of the new season - but because the £10.2m offered was “not acceptable”, as far as Alan Pardew is concerned. Arsenal have been told to return with a bid of at least £20 million before they can expect negotiations to begin. In a direct conversation with Dick Law, Arsenal’s contract negotiator, Newcastle owner Mike Ashley apparently responded to the Cabaye offer with the words: “Which part of him do you want to buy?”
Arsenal also made a bid for Paul Pogba on Monday, Manchester United’s former midfielder who is now at Juventus. The 20-year-old, who opted to join the Serie A side last summer after rejecting a deal to stay at United, was a regular in the Juve squad throughout last season as well as breaking into the France international team and is likely to also be valued at the £20m mark.
Paper Round’s view: With Cabaye making no secret of his desire to leave Newcastle and boss Pardew having withdrawn the French midfielder from last night’s squad to face Manchester City, his time at the Magpies does not look set to last much longer. But with Paris St Germain having also expressed an interest in the 27-year-old as well as the extravagantly-spending Monaco, Arsenal could easily miss out on yet another target this summer - particularly if they continue offering chump change for an established international star. As for Pogba? The midfielder would seem a decent bet for Arsenal, but why would he want to leave the Italian champions to join Arsenal in what is likely to be, at best, a scrap for the fourth Champions League place?
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Liverpool set to complete Cissokho signing: The Daily Mirror reports that Liverpool will continue to splash the cash by securing the services of Aly Cissokho on a season-long loan deal. “Brendan Rodgers wants him to provide competition for Jose Enrique at left-back and has the option of making the French defender’s move permanent next summer for £4 million,” the Mirror reports.
Paper Round’s view: Twelve months is a long time in the Premier League and Liverpool look much more settled than this time last year after with players and coach alike talking about how hard they have worked during the off-season. And the addition of Cissokho only adds further depth to a squad that should put up a decent fight for a top-four finish come May next year.