United target another big-name Spanish midfielder
Manchester United’s troubles boosting their midfield in the summer were well-documented and remain highly-ridiculed. However the Daily Mirror report that in less than a week, as soon as the transfer window re-opens on January 1, David Moyes will embark on a £30million raid for Atletico Madrid star Koke.
Paper Round’s view: The Cesc Fabregas hunt was ill-advised from the off in the summer, while United will be frustrated that the Ander Herrera saga didn’t have a happier ending. With Marouane Fellaini injured, Tom Cleverley struggling to bear the torch and the likes of Ryan Giggs and Michael Carrick not getting any younger, this isn’t just something that could help Moyes try to claim full steer of the Old Trafford ship, it’s something he and the club need. And with Koke helping Atletico into a three-horse Liga title race with the big spenders Real and Barca, perhaps he could help catch the PL champions up, too.
Chelsea veterans sweating over new deals
The Express claim that club mainstays and England internationals John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole are being made to wait by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich over whether they will land new deals. All three reach the end of their current terms at the end of the season, with the London side utilising the policy of only awarding one-year contracts at a time to those over 30, which all of them are.
Paper Round’s view: It seems as if this could affect each player differently. After last year’s contract drama, it’s hard to see Lampard being fazed by such movements from the board regarding his future at the club. Cole, meanwhile, has watched Cesar Azpilicueta cover his duties on the left flank admirably in his absence – which won’t make him particularly comfortable about the wait. Terry on the other hand is not only club captain but has actually been in strong form recently, so one has to wonder if he will be frustrated that such form hasn’t been regarded as enough to seal one more season at least.
Arsenal defender ‘to listen to offers’ before committing
Finally, the Daily Mail believe Bacary Sagna will take full advantage of his ability to open negotiations with foreign clubs from New Years Day and test the waters before he considers committing to Arsene Wenger’s cause beyond the summer, when his contract expires. The club have recently offered him a two-and-a-half-year-deal in an effort to end a long-running negotiations dispute.
Paper Round’s view: It sounds like Arsenal should prepare for an adequate replacement, if anything. Sagna reportedly has not rushed to sign the new deal, despite getting the longer term he wanted after rejecting a one-year extention, because his pay would stick at £70,000 a week. In the current climate, it’s hard not to imagine someone putting more than that on the table from January 1, and if the Gunners are to challenge for the title the last thing they need is a first team player spending the business end of the season getting ready for their new adventure.