Mata being touted around by his dad: Jose Mourinho has repeatedly said that he wants to keep Juan Mata, but the player has yet to give anything away about his own wishes - and The Sunday Times claims that he is being offered to Europe's biggest clubs by his own father. That's not quite as desperate as it sounds: Mata's dad also works as his agent, so it's more understandable he's taking direct action in the face of Mourinho's refusal to give his son more game time when a spot at the World Cup potentially up for grabs. The clubs that have been approached so far include Barcelona, Real Madrid, PSG, Inter Milan and Napoli - with Napoli reportedly the favourites, since Rafa Benitez is believed to want to reunite with the player who was his finest performer as Blues boss last season.
The Daily Star Sunday carries a similar report, claiming that Mata's dad will hold crunch talks with Blues chiefs in the coming week. They suggest that Atletico Madrid and Juventus are also in the running, with Mata wanting a loan deal rather than a permanent move since he is happy to stay in London long term.
Paper Round's view: It'd be all too easy to dismiss this talk as idle speculation in the normal run of things - but Mata's desire to play his way into Spain's World Cup squad is no joke, and the way things are going for him at Chelsea he'll be very lucky to be on the plane to Brazil. At the age of 25 he knows this will be his best chance - and we'd be very unsurprised if he ended up being loaned out to Napoli until the end of the season.
Rooney targeted by Chelsea again: Chelsea are ready to submit a £30 million bid for Wayne Rooney should he refuse to sign a new deal with Manchester United, according to the Daily Mail. The paper claims the striker's representatives are set to start initial talks over a new deal this month but serious doubts remain as to whether he will sign if the club qualify for next season's Champions League. That has given hope to Chelsea, who will be knocking on United's door with Rooney their number one target.
Paper Round's view: This story is as inevitable as it will be worrying for United fans, given yesterday's 'revelations' that the Rooney transfer saga is not over yet. Chelsea made no secret of their admiration for the player last summer and should he show a willingness to leave Old Trafford, of course they would be interested. United can only hope Rooney's form can secure them a place at Europe's top table next season. Don't expect the move to happen this month, though: the strength of Jose Mourinho's denials when asked if he would buy a new striker last week suggest that Chelsea really, really won't buy in January - the Blues manager would look ridiculous if he went back on his "100 per cent no" speech on Friday.
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Super Mario wants to return to the Premier League: Mario Balotelli is desperate to return to the Premier League, according to the Daily Star Sunday - and the Italian striker wants to sign for Chelsea. Balotelli worked under Mourinho at Inter Milan before he moved to Manchester City, though the Portuguese boss described the 23-year-old as "unmanageable".
Paper Round's view: While it's no secret that Balotelli wants to leave AC Milan - who are struggling mid-table this season - this move seems little more than wishful thinking from a tabloid hoping for some juicy headlines. As Paper Round mentioned above in the Rooney report, it's impossible to imagine Mourinho buying a striker, so vehement were his denials a few days ago. It'd be too much of a loss of face for a man with a vast ego.
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Mourinho wants more British managers: Chelsea's Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho has said there should be more British coaches in the Premier League, according to a report in The Independent. After Cardiff City's appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer brought the number of top-division managers born outside Britain or Ireland up to nine, the Blues boss said foreign managers are not necessarily superior to home-grown coaches.
Paper Round's view: You have to admire Mourinho for his views, considering his own nationality, although if he wanted to rectify the 'problem', why did he return to the Premier League?
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Galatasaray prepare Terry bid: Turkish giants Galatasaray are putting together a £10m deal to lure John Terry away from Chelsea, reports the Daily Mirror. The Blues are expected to offer Terry a new one-year deal at the end of this season, when his current contract expires, but Gala are willing to offer two years. An added incentive for the former England captain is that the £100,000 offer comes tax-free.
Paper Round's view: 'Mr Chelsea' is likely to listen to what his club have to offer first, but as the report states, that should not deter the ambitious Turkish outfit and their manager Roberto Mancini. It's difficult to imagine playing anywhere else, but sometimes players nearing the ends of their careers, even ones as fiercely loyal as Terry, can be tempted to move for money.
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Suarez has £70m get-out clause: The Daily Mirror reports that Luis Suarez has a £70m buy-out clause in his new contract with Liverpool. The Uruguay international signed a new £200,000-a-week deal that could keep him at Anfield until 2018 last month but his advisors ensured there was a clause that would allow him to leave if the club fails to qualify for the Champions League. The paper claims the Merseysiders wanted to pitch the clause at £100m, but were told that figure was excessive and it was only when a compromise was reached that the deal was signed.
Paper Round's view: The Sun reported four days ago that the figure had been set at £120m, citing Ian Rush as the source of their information. But to be honest, it matters little whether the real figure is £70m or £120m - either one of those sums, and anything in between, is enough to put off pretty much any club in the world, with perhaps one or two exceptions.
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Hammers to enter Defoe race: West Ham will enter the race to sign Jermain Defoe if Tottenham allow him to leave this month, reports the Daily Mail. The paper claims the Hammers are willing bankroll the signing of a proven Premier League goalscorer to help them in their fight against relegation, with a loan move the most likely option.
Paper Round's view: With a deal with MLS side Toronto FC not yet finalised, there is still a chance Defoe could remain in the Premier League. He knows West Ham well, having spent five years at Upton Park, and playing regular top flight football would do his World Cup chances no harm at all. This is a deal that could suit all parties.
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