Chelsea will sign Costa: Diego Costa will sign for Chelsea in a £32 million deal this summer, claims The Sun with some conviction. The paper reports that a deal for the Atletico Madrid hitman, who scored against the Blues at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, has already been done. A top Stamford Bridge source confirmed: “Diego Costa will be a Chelsea player next season. It’s a done deal.” The Brazil-born striker only signed a new deal with the Champions League finalists last year but the figure Chelsea have offered will trigger a release clause in his contract.
Paper Round's view: Chelsea have been linked with Costa for some time but this report is the furthest the story has gone so far. It seems like a deal will happen, but why would Costa want to leave a club that could yet be European champions at the end of the season, in a country to which he has just pledged his international allegiances? If money were not a big part of it, his motives would be difficult to understand. But money is clearly a big part of it, and at Chelsea, there's plenty of it.
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Mourinho plans overhaul of squad: Jose Mourinho is set to undertake a large-scale overhaul of his Chelsea squad after the disappointment of defeat to Atleti. The Daily Mail claims that Fernando Torres, Demba Ba, Samuel Eto'o, David Luiz and Romelu Lukaku are all on their way out of the club, with Costa, Hakan Calhanoglu, Alberto Moreno, Paulinho and Lazar Markovic on Mourinho's wish list. The Daily Mirror, meanwhile, adds the name of Eden Hazard to those who could be on their way out of Stamford Bridge, along with John Obi Mikel and Ashley Cole, while young Everton duo Ross Barkley and John Stones are mentioned other possible new recruits.
Paper Round's view: Amazing what a difference a few goals makes, isn't it? Had things panned out more favourably for Chelsea the other night, we would not yet be talking so seriously about these comings and goings. Yet Wednesday's result - and the performance - ensured that big questions are being asked about Mourinho's squad, and now a summer clear out is as necessary as it is likely. Exits for Torres, Ba and Eto'o will be partially covered by the arrival of Costa, but still more attacking talent will be needed. Luiz would be the biggest loss, but at least the £30m raised from his sale could fund other forays into the transfer market, while Ross Barkley would be a tremendous acquisition.
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Van Gaal to be appointed next week: Manchester United are set to confirm Louis van Gaal as their new manager on Wednesday, reports the Daily Mail. The Dutchman will arrive at Old Trafford with his extensive back room staff, also Dutch, in the shape of Patrick Kluivert, goalkeeping coach Frans Hoek, fitness coach Jos van Dijk and analyst Max Reekers. What that means is that United's Class of 92 face uncertain futures. Of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Phil Neville, the paper claims that Neville is the most vulnerable to be asked to leave, while goalkeeping coach Chris Woods is also set for pastures new with Hoek being Van Gaal's preference.
Paper Round's view: If Van Gaal has any gumption about him at all (and it would appear he has), he would ensure at least Giggs is retained in some capacity. Severing all ties with the past by axing this quartet would be madness, not least because it would get him off on the wrong foot with the fans. For this reason, Giggs will surely still be around come the start of next season, possibly with one or two of the others, albeit in very much more junior roles.
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City exec warns of Van Gaal's style: Ferran Soriano, the chief executive of Manchester City, has warned United of their manager-in-waiting's abrasive management style. The Times is among the papers to report Soriano's view that the Dutchman's autocratic approach breeds enemies who will be out to "kill you" when results are not going as well as hoped. Soriano knows of Van Gaal's methods from his time at Barcelona, where he joined the board in June 2003, just six months after Van Gaal was sacked by the Catalan club.
Paper Round's view: Before you start questioning why a Manchester City official is criticising the new incumbent of United's managerial hotseat - although there would be no surprises there - these quotes have been dug up from March earlier this year when Soriano was speaking at a management seminar in Abu Dhabi. So he's not doing it purely to wind up his current club's cross-town rivals and as such his comments possibly carry more weight. But United should know all about Van Gaal, his techniques and the bust-ups, and are most likely more concerned with his results, which have been consistently good.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Diego Costa
- Jose Mourinho
- Van Gaal
- Ross Barkley