Arsenal on brink of Draxler deal: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is on the brink of a deadline-beating £30 million move for Julian Draxler, according to several reports today. The Daily Mirror claims that Wenger is confident of landing the Schalke star before the transfer window shuts tomorrow night after lengthy negotiations throughout Wednesday. The paper adds that the Bundesliga club are willing to do business this month to ease their financial problems, although they want £35m for the player, almost all of it up front.
Paper Round's view: With The Guardian reporting that Dick Law, Arsenal's chief transfer negotiator, is in Germany, it does indeed appear that both parties want a deal done by Friday night - and that a move will be finalised in time. Arsenal are becoming relative masters at last-minute transfers and if they can work their late magic once more, Draxler could well prove to be just as good a signing as the last German the Gunners snared on deadline day: Mesut Ozil. Great business if they can get this one across the line.
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Chelsea ready to unload Lukaku to fund move for top striker: Chelsea are ready to sacrifice Romelu Lukaku to help fund a "mega-money summer move" for either Falcao or Diego Costa, according to the Daily Star. The Blues hope to bank around £20m by selling Lukaku, currently on loan at Everton, with Atletico Madrid keen, the report claims. That money would be used to buy either long-term £50m-plus target Falcao, whose move to Monaco has turned sour, or Costa, who has a £32m buyout clause.
Paper Round's view: Clearly Lukaku doesn't have a future at Stamford Bridge under Jose Mourinho, given their falling out over the player's loan to Everton before this season, and a permanent sale is definitely on the cards. If Atletico - or whoever else - are willing to pay £20m for his services, that would represent good business for Chelsea, who would double their money on a player they bought for around £10m in 2011. And if that cash could be used to capture Falcao or Costa, either of whom would be good acquisitions, Chelsea can be pleased with their work.
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City open talks with Mangala and Fernando: Manchester City are set to "flex their muscles in the transfer market" after opening discussions to sign Eliaquim Mangala and Fernando from Porto, according to The Times. The paper claims that City are favourites to snare Mangala, amid other interest in the 22-year-old from Chelsea, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain, with a summer move most likely, although the new Premier League leaders are exploring the possibility of completing a deal before tomorrow. Fernando, meanwhile, is understood to also favour City, and if an agreement can be reached in the next 24 hours, Porto could be persuaded to release him for a free this month despite his current deal running until the summer.
Paper Round's view: Given the football Manuel Pellegrini's side are currently playing, it's understandable players such as Mangala and Fernando would prefer a move to Eastlands over places such as Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge. Forget their millions in the bank, City's form is doing them the world of good in the transfer market at the moment - a scary thought, given that that will only make them stronger.
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City confident of passing FFP test: The Independent's back page informs us that Manchester City seem set to pass UEFA's Financial Fair Play test, with one technical aspect of the rules proving vital in avoiding a ban from the Champions League next season. City again posted huge losses for the financial year 2012-13 leaving the club a full £112.5m over the allowed cut-off point for the past two years but they club will be given a borderline pass by being able to bring the figure down towards the allowable losses through the subtraction of wages of wages paid out for players signed before June 2010.
Paper Round's view: So, a bit of number crunching, liberal interpretation of the rules and looking between the lines should see City right. Fair play? You must be joking. At least the potentially embarrassing situation of this year's winners of the Champions League not being allowed to defend their title next year should be avoided.
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Newcastle line up replacement for Cabaye: Newcastle have moved quickly to replace the departed Yohan Cabaye by tabling a bid for Lyon midfielder Clement Grenier. The Daily Mail reports that the North-East club have offered £11m for the 23-year-old although it remains to be seen whether the Ligue 1 club will sanction a move this month after their coach Remi Garde voiced his concern.
Paper Round's view: Newcastle may well have slipped up here - to sell one of their best players with just days before the transfer window shuts without a replacement already lined up seems rather cavalier. If Lyon refuse to sell Grenier, which is entirely plausible, their only remaining option appears to be Remy Cabella, who Montpellier do not want to sell and who was told by his current club president that he would be "bored s***less in Newcastle" anyway.
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