Premier League - Paper round: Barcelona to test United’s resolve with Mata bid

Louis van Gaal is ready to sacrifice Juan Mata as he looks to start the rebuilding process at Manchester United; Chelsea eye Raphael Varane as David Luiz’s replacement; Mario Balotelli could be set for a return to the Premier League and Ton Ince has agreed to move to Monaco – it is the rumours from today’s papers.

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Premier League - Paper round: Barcelona to test United’s resolve with Mata bid
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Juan Mata.

Van Gaal ready to sell Juan Mata: New Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal is considering sanctioning the sale of Juan Mata to Barcelona, reports the Sunday Express. Van Gaal is thought to favour Wayne Rooney in the hole behind Robin van Persie and Van Gaal is considering sacrificing Mata as he looks to rebuild his squad, with Barcelona set to bid £40 million for the player.

Paper Round’s view: While a supremely talented player, United were already well-stocked with creative attacking players when they swooped for the Spain international in January. Jose Mourinho sanctioned the sale of Mata from Chelsea as he thought that the playmaker did not work hard enough defensively - and Van Gaal may agree with that sentiment. If Barcelona firm up their interest in the shape of a formal bid of £40 million then expect United to do business.

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Chelsea eye Raphael Varane: Chelsea are reportedly eyeing a move for Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane, reports the Metro. Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho signed the French youngster for Madrid in 2011 and now wants to reunite with the defender after agreeing the sale of David Luiz to PSG. Mourinho has previously stated that Varane is the ‘best young defender in the world’.

Paper Round’s view: Varane is currently struggling to get a game in Madrid and Chelsea are short in that area following the sale of Luiz, so this deal makes sense. Whether Real Madrid would be willing to sell is another matter altogether. The France international would probably have to try to force the move through – something he may be willing to do to ensure first team football.

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Balotelli set for sensational Premier League return: Arsenal and Liverpool are considering bringing Mario Balotelli back to the Premier League, reports the Daily Mail. Balotelli is said to want a return to England after once again being the victim of racist abuse in Italy. Arsenal are also tracking Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema and see Balotelli as a back up should that deal not materialise. Liverpool will only move for the striker if Luis Saurez is tempted away from Anfield.

Paper Round’s view: Balotelli has proven Premier League pedigree and would be a wise investment for both clubs. He would suit Arsenal’s style but whether manager Arsene Wenger would consider making a move for such a volatile player remains to be seen. Liverpool will do all they can to keep hold of Luis Suarez but if they were to get world record money for the Uruguayan then they could reinvest in Balotelli and have plenty of change to add to their squad. Arsenal will only sign Benzema if Madrid sign Suarez, so this move appears to hinge on Suarez's future.

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Ince set to move to Monaco: Tom Ince is set to snub Italian club Inter Milan and move to Monaco, reports the Daily Mirror. The former Blackpool player had spent the latter half of last season on loan at Crystal Palace and was expected to move to Italy but Monaco have swooped late to agree terms with the England U21 international.

Paper Round’s view: This move seems to be all but agreed - however how wise a move is it for the young Englishman? He struggled to hold down a place in the Crystal Palace team last season, which suggests he may find it even more difficult amongst the myriad of stars in the French principality. It is a risk but looks like one he is willing to take.

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