United eye Benteke move: The Mirror carries the news that Manchester United manager David Moyes is interested in Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke. According to the paper, Moyes wants Benteke to “be his next No. 9” with doubts continuing to surround Wayne Rooney’s position at Old Trafford. Moyes is believed to have made a “personal check” on the Belgium striker against Scotland last week, and we are reminded that if a move happens in January, Benteke would be eligible for European competition.
Paper Round’s view: This has all the hallmarks of a filler story in an international week soon after the close of the transfer window. Was Moyes making a “personal check” or was he just watching Scotland? Benteke would interest any club but to speculate about a move in January seems a stretch.
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Arsenal to sign striker: The transfer window might have closed but Arsene Wenger is still working on deals, according to the Daily Express who say the Gunners are to sign 27-year-old Romanian striker Ciprian Marica on a free transfer, beating West Ham to the punch. Marica left Schalke in the summer and has also been linked with Shakhtar Donetsk, Lazio and Inter Milan.
Paper Round’s view: This has a whiff of a story manufactured by an agent to drum up interest in their player. Is Marica really good enough for Arsenal? Probably not. They’d rather move Theo Walcott to the centre than bring in the Romanian.
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Casillas a target for English clubs: The Sun reports that Manchester City and Arsenal are both keeping tabs on Real Madrid captain Iker Casillas, who has again started this season on the bench after losing his place to Diego Lopez last season.
Paper Round’s view: Casillas won his 150th international cap on Friday but surely he cannot afford to spend a World Cup season on the bench. If January comes around and he’s still Madrid’s back-up, then maybe this story has legs.
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City want £30m defender: Manuel Pellegrini is making further plans for January, reports the Daily Star, with a move for Porto defender Eliaquim Mangala on the cards. The 22-year-old is valued at around £30m and City made a late move for him before the close of the window, only to be thwarted by his employers.
Paper Round’s view: It’s no secret that City need a defender – even if Vincent Kompany and Martin Demichelis will be back by January. £30m seems a steep price but Porto are always tough negotiators and City have the readies.
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O’Neill favourite for Ireland job: The Daily Mail reports former Sunderland and Aston Villa boss Martin O’Neill has emerged as the leading candidate to replace Giovanni Trapattoni as Ireland boss following a damaging home defeat to Sweden on Friday night. Roy Keane, Chris Hughton and Mick McCarthy are also under consideration but the Northern Irishman is the favourite of the FAI at present.
Paper Round’s view: The time is ripe for change in Ireland and the overly negative Trapattoni must go. O’Neill seems an obvious choice and his success at Celtic means his CV is an impressive one. This one makes sense.