Premier League - Paper Round: Chelsea hijack Arsenal deal

Chelsea seem to want a lot of central midfielders this summer, according to the papers. But which one has the real inside scoop? Plus, Crystal Palace launch a double raid on Cardiff - here are the main stories making headlines in today's newspapers.

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Premier League - Paper Round: Chelsea hijack Arsenal deal
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Jose Mourinho came close to taking the England job in 2007

Chelsea plot to snatch Khedira: The Daily Mirror reports that Chelsea are trying to scupper Arsenal’s plan to follow the capture of Alexis Sanchez by bringing in German midfielder Sami Khedira from Real Madrid. They state the World Cup finalist’s pay demands of £150,000 a week could allow Jose Mourinho to swoop for a player he previously worked with at the Bernabeu ahead of Arsene Wenger.

Paper Round’s view: Not content with bringing Cesc Fabregas to Stamford Bridge, Chelsea now look set to lure another top midfielder to their side of London. While the Gunners are beginning to finally flex their financial clout with major acquisitions such as Mesut Ozil and Sanchez, Wenger has long made it clear that he and the Arsenal board won’t be held over a barrel and forced to compromise their pay structure. £150k a week would make Khedira the club’s top earner - Ozil is not far behind on just over £140k - and it seems that Arsenal are baulking at that pay cheque. If so Chelsea will give the German what he wants instead; that could yet mean there’s still a potential deal to bring Lars Bender to the Emirates.

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Palace plan double Cardiff swoop: As is the case with most sides after dropping from the Premier League to the Championship, Cardiff are likely to undergo some heavy-duty asset-stripping - and stepping up to the plate are Crystal Palace, report both the Guardian and the Mirror. The Guardian says Fraizer Campbell’s release clause is set to be triggered by the Croydon outfit for just £600,000 (slightly less than one month of Khedira’s wages) while 22-year-old England defender Steven Caulker, according to the latter, will snub Queens Park Rangers in order to join the Eagles.

Paper Round’s view: Tony Pulis’ fine work in moving Palace up the table last season has no doubt left a strong impression on many a player looking to move to a Premier League club for 2014/15, and Palace now offer more security than a QPR side who’ll have to establish themselves all over again. Despite a torrid season in Wales following the Tan/Mackay falling-out, Campbell and Caulker remain fine talents and could really help to continue Palace’s upward rise.

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United and Chelsea going for a Song: If you’re struggling to find Chelsea’s reported chase of Khedira believable, how about the Daily Star’s alternative claim that their central midfield shopping trip is instead centred around Barcelona man Alex Song? They apparently face competition from Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United, as Spanish tabloid Mundo Deportivo quotes the out-of-favour Cameroonian’s price tag at around £20 million.

Paper Round’s view: Apparently most of Chelsea’s summer business must have some sort of Arsenal touch. Nonetheless, the Barcelona move didn’t go completely to plan for Song, and a return to England where he developed into a top-drawer enforcing midfielder for both Charlton and Arsenal could be just what he needs to remind the world what he can do at his best. Especially after all that elbow-throwing malarkey in Brazil.

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Blues linked to PSG prodigy: Finally, yet another potential Chelsea acquisition as the Express claims Mourinho could break character and target a less-established but highly-promising young star. His name is Adrien Rabiot, a France U21 international who apparently seeks a better chance at first-team football since Yohan Cabaye, Blaise Matuidi, Marco Verratti and Thiago Motta are all ahead of him in the Paris Saint-Germain pecking order.

Paper Round’s view: Laurent Blanc wants to keep the young midfielder, it seems, but he has just a year to convince him he will get his chances at PSG as Rabiot is out of contract in a year’s time. That may well lead to the club taking a small fee rather than absolutely nothing next summer. It does, however, seem a bit farfetched that Chelsea would: a) go for such a bargain player when they’re reportedly still after the likes of Paul Pogba and the above-mentioned Khedira and Song; and b) take on a less experienced, lesser-known player at all, given their penchant for marquee signings and struggles to blood their youth.

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