Premier League - Paper Round: Liverpool can scupper United deal

Manchester United need help from an unlikely source if they are to complete the signing of Mats Hummels; Louis van Gaal is 'spying' on his players; and Liverpool are closing in on two more signings - the main stories making headlines in today's newspapers.

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Hummels deal still on: Manchester United are still in with a chance of signing Germany international after Mats Hummels from Borussia Dortmund - but the deal could now be scuppered by arch-rivals Liverpool according to the Daily Mirror. The paper reports that United and Dortmund are close to agreement on a £20 million switch - but only thanks to the Bundesliga side's entering talks with Liverpool over a replacement, namely young Portuguese defender Tiago Ilori. The German club see Ilori - who would join on loan - as a possible replacement for Hummels. The paper claims that Reds boss Brendan Rodgers would need to sanction such any such move.

Paper Round's view: This deal has been on and then off consistently throughout the summer, so it's difficult to know what to believe - but the latest twist makes it seem less likely to happen despite there not being much meat on this latest development. There is absolutely nothing concrete about Dortmund's 'interest' in Ilori, for starters; and also, what has changed since it was reported that Dortmund do not want to be seen cashing in on another star, having already offloaded Robert Lewandowski to Bayern Munich? The key here is the Liverpool connection, however: why on earth would they want to do anything that might help out their rivals United, especially since the only benefit to them is a small loan fee and a little bit of Bundesliga experience for one of their fringe players. There's a lot about this story that doesn't quite add up - suggesting that the Hummels deal is back on the 'off' side of the on-off.

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Van Gaal warned by United owners: Louis van Gaal has been warned of the "dire" cost of not leading his Manchester United side to a top-four finish in his first season in charge at Old Trafford. The Sun's back page sets out in bullet points how United could be affected if they fail to reach the Champions League, under the headline 'Top four or bust - United chiefs' warning to LVG'. Those points: 1) United may not be able to sign top stars; 2) Van Gaal could lose some of his best players; and 3) fans and sponsors may desert the club.

Paper Round's view: This will hardly be news to Van Gaal. He may have said it will take him three months to sort the club out, but the Dutchman will be under no illusions about the consequences of finishing outside the top four come the end of the season and he doesn't need it spelled out in bullet points on the back page of a newspaper.

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Papers montage

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Liverpool ramp up recruitment drive: The Daily Mail reports that Liverpool are close to spending over £100m this summer with the signings of Alberto Moreno and Javi Manquillo close to being completed. Chief executive Ian Ayre flew to Spain to secure the signatures of the pair, with the Reds set to pay Sevilla £20m for left-back Moreno and broker a two-year loan deal - with an option to buy for £6m - for Atletico Madrid right-back Manquillo. Liverpool have already spent almost £90m on Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Dejan Lovren, Emre Can, Lazar Markovic and Divock Origi.

Paper Round's view: Exciting news for Liverpool fans - Moreno in particular looks like a great signing - whose club has conducted some decent business already this summer. The fear is, of course, that they will 'do a Tottenham' with the money received from Barcelona for Luis Suarez, but manager Brendan Rodgers' signings so far have been intelligently prudent - if not spectacular - and that trend will be extended with these latest two.

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Eto'o in talks with Hammers: West Ham United have held talks with Samuel Eto'o as they seek cover for the injured Andy Carroll, reports The Times. The Hammers are also looking at Peter Crouch, while Hugo Almeida, the Bestiktas striker, is another option. Eto'o is a free agent having left Chelsea after one season at Stamford Bridge.

Paper Round's view: Eto'o is apparently keen to stay in London, so why not West Ham? He would at least get some game time, given Carroll's persistent injury problems, although Arsenal have also been mentioned as a potential destination, so he may have a better option than pre-season crisis club West Ham. QPR are also thought to be interested.

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Milner makes City sweat: James Milner will take his time before committing to a new Manchester City deal, reports The Sun. The midfielder is entering the final year of his contract at the Etihad and City want him to put pen to paper on a new deal. But Milner values first-team football above anything else and with that not guaranteed at the moment, he wants to see how things pan out this season before making any firm decisions.

Paper Round's view: Boring James Milner they call him, and this move by him merely underscores the England international's sensibility. Being a home-grown player, he is vitally important for City, but if he's not playing as much as he wants, why would he stay where he is? A prudent course of action, one which may have City cursing come the end of the season.

(behind The Sun's paywall)

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LVG installs cameras to spy on United stars: Most papers today have the story about Van Gaal turning into Big Brother in a bid to make United champions again. The Daily Star is among the titles to jump on the revelation that the Dutchman has ordered special spy cameras to be installed at Carrington so he can keep a close eye on his stars. "Van Gaal then goes through the video tape with individuals or as a group to point out what they are doing wrong" the paper adds. A club source told the paper that so far the players have responded well to his methods.

Paper Round's view: And to think that the likes of Lee Sharpe and Ryan Giggs lived in perpetual fear of being watched by Sir Alex Ferguson and his spies. This is next level stuff, although there is nothing in the report to suggest that Van Gaal is spying on his players in their private time - it's purely a training method used to improve performance on the pitch by analysing performance. Still, it does hint at Van Gaal's controlling nature. But if it works, no one at Old Trafford will be complaining.

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Arsenal close on Quintero, Cazorla future in doubt: The agent of Juan Quintero has claimed the Colombia midfielder is on his way to Arsenal after a £15.8m fee was agreed with Porto. The Daily Mail reports that such a move would place question marks over the future of Atletico Madrid target Santi Cazorla at the Emirates. Maria Elena Chavarro tweeted: 'Today @juanferquinte10 travelled to England to sign a contract with Arsenal who are paying 20m Euros to FCPorto, congratulations!' However, the paper also points out that another of Quintero's representatives says the player will not leave Porto unless his buy-out clause is triggered - currently standing at just over £30m, according to reports elsewhere.

Paper Round's view: It's a ballsy tweet to send out to the masses, but the other representative Ricardo Calleri's assertion that "in order for him to leave, a club has to pay his buy-out clause" seems more plausible. And with the uncertainty over what exactly is going on means, at this stage at least, absolutely nothing for Cazorla. Still he could be sweating a little if agent number one's claims prove true.

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