Rooney to pen mega United contract: Wayne Rooney is ready to sign a new £300,000 deal to stay at Manchester United until 2018 and turn his back on Chelsea, Real Madrid and Arsenal, reports today's Daily Telegraph. With the signing of Juan Mata close to being finalised, United are keen to wrap up a deal for the England striker and end the saga surrounding his future. Talks between the two parties have already taken place and Rooney has been encouraged by the club's willingness to hand him such a lucrative deal and their determination to resist all offers to sell him.
Paper Round's view: That's a whole lot of money to keep one player, but if that is indeed what the club are prepared to pay, it speaks volumes about how desperately David Moyes wants to hang on to him - and gives a clear indication that the manager has a plan in mind to accommodate both Rooney and Mata in the same side. On the flip side, it does seem rather unsavoury that a player who hankered after a move elsewhere so recently - amid concerns over the quality of the United team - will be rewarded so handsomely with said team doing even worse than when he originally wanted out. Yet, that is modern day football. Like it or lump it.
- - -
Moyes runs rule over Kroos: United manager Moyes was in Germany on Friday night to watch the match between Borussia Moenchengladbach and Bayern Munich, purportedly to check out January targets Patrick Herrmann and Mario Mandzukic. But The Times claims Moyes had his eye on another player too: Bayern's Toni Kroos. The underfire boss was escorted into Borussia Monchengladbach's stadium by Kroos' agent and the pair sat together during the game, after United were alerted to contract stand-off between the Germany midfielder and his club. The paper reports that Bayern would undoubtedly ask for at least £25 million for Kroos, but United are clearly happy to splash the cash in a bid to arrest their current slump.
Paper Round's view: Well, this is a turn-up for the books. And what a signing Kroos could turn out to be. Labelled 'the complete midfielder' he would offer an option in an area that is sorely in need of spicing up, especially with Michael Carrick currently out injured. And at the age of 24, Kroos would not just be a stop-gap solution, and could potentially form part of the spine of Moyes' team for years to come. An exciting link, although it's highly likely that Bayern will want to hang on to a player of his calibre - Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has already said as much - and may only be a matter of the German giants stumping up enough cash.
- - -
United bid for Shaw: Manchester United have made a £22.5 million bid for Southampton’s teenage left-back Luke Shaw, according to the Daily Mirror. That figure tops Chelsea's offer of £21m and Moyes is hoping to open talks this weekend, the report claims, with the 18-year-old to be given the opportunity to start in the first team from the outset. That would spell the end of the road for Patrice Evra, who is in the final five months of his contract at Old Trafford.
Paper Round's view: This transfer would represent something of a double whammy for United - not only would one of the brightest prospects arrive at Old Trafford, but it would also mean Chelsea miss out, a bit like the transfer equivalent of a six-pointer. And if an extra £1.5m or so ensures that happens, then United should go ahead all guns blazing. This is, after all, a club in crisis and desperate times call for lots of spending.
- - -
Arsenal close on Draxler: Germany midfielder Julian Draxler is desperate to join Arsenal this month, reports the Daily Mirror, which claims that bosses at the Emirates have been given "major encouragement" that a deal for the £35m-rated Schalke midfielder could be done before the close of the transfer window. It is "understood" that Arsenal are having talks with the Bundesliga club, who will sell if the price is right.
Paper Round's view: Excited Arsenal fans reading this report this morning should also be aware that Arsene Wenger emphatically denied the speculation after the FA Cup clash with Coventry last night. The Gunners boss said: "That is an illusion. There is nothing happening, honestly no. We don't need to take players on the flanks - we have 17 players on the flanks." So there.
- - -
MLS offer Rio chance: Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror also reports that United defender Rio Ferdinand is being offered big-money moves to the MLS this summer. The 35-year-old's one-year contract is running down and with no new deal on the horizon the report claims "he appears to be on his way out of Old Trafford". Ferdinand has told friends he is ready to head to the States in the summer, while his other option would be to retire and take up a role as a pundit with BT Sport.
Paper Round's view: Ferdinand's ego would certainly be satisfied in the States, where he would understandably be a big deal for the MLS, and you can't help get the feeling that he would also enjoy life off the pitch across the Atlantic, given his interests away from football in television, film and music. LA would be a great fit. Certainly, his future at United appears over.
- - -
Mourinho has a go at Wenger: Following Arsene Wenger's accusation yesterday that Chelsea have bent the transfer rules in their favour, Jose Mourinho has hit back, most papers report. The Daily Star wins the prize for the best headline, after the Blues boss slammed Wenger for having another go at his club. The Portuguese also taunted Wenger by claiming the Gunners could have signed Juan Mata ahead of Manchester United. “Wenger complaining is normal, because we know that is what he does," is the pick of Mourinho's quotes.
Paper Round's view: The spat between these two is as entertaining as it is unbecoming of two of the most respected managers in the world game. Wenger's original rant was curious at best and bizarre at worst, and while Mourinho's retort was always going to come, prompted as it was by journalists at his Friday presser, the row is quickly descending into schoolyard territory. Great for neutrals to watch, not so great for Arsenal and Chelsea fans.
- - -