Premier League - Paper Round: Chelsea close on £48m Higuain

Chelsea's ambitious swoop for Gonzalo Higuain continues to hit the back pages, but Paper Round smells a rat.

Chelsea to swoop for Higuain: Jose Mourinho will move decisively to end Chelsea's striker crisis by signing Gonzalo Higuain from Napoli just six months after the player moved to Italy. Rumours of a £48m move surfaced on Boxing Day, and the Daily Star insists they have legs, saying Chelsea will fund the deal by selling Fernando Torres and Demba Ba.

Paper Round's view: Mourinho knows Higuain, having worked with him at Real Madrid. But the Portuguese preferred the more muscular Karim Benzema and, while he doesn't mind spending Roman Abramovich's money, he knows as well as anyone that £48m is a vastly-inflated price. Throw in the fact that Higuain would be cup-tied in the Champions League and it seems like a wildly-expensive short-term measure - especially with Romelu Lukaku returning from loan in the summer. And the less said about the glib assumption that Torres and Ba could fetch £48 million between them, the better. From Napoli's side, they are four months removed from a huge spending spree and, while they are 10 points off the pace in Serie A, there would be no logic in dismantling their side in mid-season.

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Dzeko top of Valencia list: Edin Dzeko is top of Valencia's January shopping list if the club is taken over by Singaporean billionaire Peter Lim, the Daily Mail claims. Coach Juan Antonio Pizzi would be given £40m to spend in January, and Dzeko would apparently be keen on the move having fallen behind Alvaro Negredo in the Manchester City pecking order.

Paper Round's view: Any rumour that includes the caveat "if the club are taken over by a billionaire" should be taken with a large pinch of salt. What's more Dzeko - while not first choice - remains a very useful player for City, especially with Sergio Aguero out injured. Manuel Pellegrini would need to see much more from the injury-plagued Stevan Jovetic to even consider letting Dzeko leave.

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Arsenal to miss out on Luiz Gustavo (again): Last summer, Arsenal's transfer woes were summed up by midfielder Luis Gustavo who snubbed them and chose to join Wolfsburg instead. Post-Ozil, everything is now rosy at the Emirates and they are back in for the Brazilian. Touble is, so are Barcelona. Gustavo: "It's always good to have your name linked to Barcelona ... I have a long contract which includes a buyout fee, and if anyone wants to pay that, they can sign me."

Paper Round's view: It's a pretty brazen 'come and get me' plea from Luiz Gustavo. Who knows - maybe Barcelona do want him - but Gustavo plays in the same position as the far-superior Sergio Busquets so he can expect to spend plenty of time on the bench. So Arsenal needn't worry. More pertinently, do they really want to sign a player who will be agitating for another move after a few months?

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Lamela wants out of Spurs - for now: Erik Lamela has asked for a loan away from Tottenham Hotspur, with Internazionale and Atletico Madrid in the running to sign him, the Daily Mirror reports. Lamela, who has made little impact following his £30 million summer move from Roma, is desperate to secure regular first-team football to resurrect his chances of making Argentina's World Cup squad.

Paper Round's view: We'll be seeing a lot of these over the next few weeks - players seeking a move with the World Cup in mind. This one sounds eminently plausible - Lamela is a very highly-rated player (hence the massive price tag) and there is no real sign of things turning round quickly at Spurs. So a loan for the rest of the season seems to make sense.

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Palace to spend on Ledley, Gomis: Crystal Palace are prepared to have Tony Pulis a significant transfer kitty to boost the club's survival chances. New sporting director Iain Moody is particularly keen on Celtic midfielder Joe Ledley and striker Bafetimbi Gomis of Lyon. When Pulis joined, it was agreed that funds would be made available if he could get Palace to the 14-point mark by new year.

Paper Round's view: Setting a points target to make something like £10 million available sounds like a ridiculously short-term policy, but that aside this story does have a ring of truth about it. Too few of the players brought in by Ian Holloway in the summer have proven themselves, and Palace arguably have the weakest squad in the division. Targets like Ledley and Gomis sound ambitious but just about plausible.

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