‘United and City battle for English starlet’ – Manchester United and City are monitoring Sheffield United's striker Diego De Girolamo, according to a report in the Daily Mail. He could add an extra dimension to the Yorkshire derby between Sheffield United and Bradford City tomorrow. The 18-year-old, born and bred in Chesterfield, is hoping to be in Nigel Clough's first-team squad after 10 months out with a cruciate ligament injury. The teenager is being closely monitored by Arsenal, Man Utd and City. Liverpool and Everton, alerted by his return to fitness, are also due to send scouts to watch De Girolamo.
Paper Round’s view: This is the kind of story that every fan wants to hear – their big club targeting a young English talent. He caused a stir in 2012 when he opted to play for Italy U18s instead of England after receiving a personal call from the great AC Milan and Italy coach Arrigo Sacchi. Diego qualified for Italy through his father Cosimo who is from Naples. De Girolamo played six games for Italy U18s and scored three goals only to rupture his anterior cruciate in the last minute of a friendly against Austria. He is still eligible to play for England but Italy have not forgotten him and invited him to an U19 squad camp in Florence just before Christmas.
‘Moyes receives apology from Mourinho over Rooney’ - David Moyes has received an apology from Jose Mourinho for the Chelsea manager's claim earlier in the week that he had "inside information" about Manchester United being unhappy with the season so far. While Mourinho also stated this was due to "years of communicating with Sir Alex", Moyes said: "I have seen it and I have had an apology from the Chelsea media department and from José. I think it was poor journalism actually."
Paper Round’s view: An apology for “poor journalism” is not really an apology at all, but it does at least demonstrate the level of scrutiny both managers are now under regarding the future of the seemingly permanently unsettled Rooney. The Guardian leads on this story and make it clear that this narrative is not going to change at all unless he either signs a new contract or finally moves. Chelsea remain best placed to sign him if he leaves, but United would much prefer to move him on elsewhere.
‘Liverpool are to move for a midfielder from Italy’ - Liverpool are sizing up a move to prise Antonio Candreva away from Lazio in the summer, according to a report in the Daily Express. The Italian international was previously linked with a move to Manchester United in the summer, but now it will be Brendan Rodgers who makes his move for the midfielder. Reports emanating from Italy ascertain Rodgers is an admirer of the 26-year-old, who is holding down a regular first team spot at Lazio.
Paper Round’s view: A deal could be complicated as the player is jointly owned by with Lazio and their rivals Udinese. It is thought that Lazio are lining up a £7 million move in order to assume complete ownership, however Liverpool are ready to fight for his signature. Rodgers may have to act fast for Candreva, whose price tag could soar should he excel at the World Cup. He has four goals to his name from 26 appearances this season.
‘Everton to swoop for Monaco forward’ - Everton could beat West Ham to the loan signing of Monaco forward Lacina Traore, according to the Daily Mail. The Hammers were granted a work permit for the 23-year-old but have yet to push through the paperwork. The 6ft 8in Monaco striker has been given a work permit but West Ham have yet to process the paperwork as they have concerns about a hamstring injury the player suffered earlier this month. They can ill-afford to sign a player who is not fully fit but the delay has allowed Everton to step in and discuss taking over the proposed loan deal. Stoke also showed early interest but are now talking to Monaco about another striker, Emmanuel Riviere.
Paper Round’s view: The 23-year-old Ivorian joined Monaco from Russia’s Anzhi Makhachkala last week for £8.6million and has reportedly been being tracked by West Ham, in particular, for a long time. Certainly the Hammers need another forward, but Traore would be very similar in type to Andy Carroll so would not perhaps provide the balance that some believe Sam Allardyce needs. Everton are thinking ahead to the summer when Romelu Lukaku will very unlikely still be at Goodison Park.