Premier League - Paper Round: Chelsea warned to stop bugging Guardiola

Roman Abramovich's eagerness could cost him his top target to take over as permanent manager of Chelsea, according to Wednesday's papers.

The Sun reports that Chelsea have been warned to stop pestering Pep Guardiola about taking over as manager at Stamford Bridge.

Abramovich is desperate to secure the services of man who brought Barcelona three league and two Champions League titles in four years at the helm - so much so that his representatives have apparently been bugging the 41-year-old about his interest in the Chelsea job.

And that attention is apparently not going down well.

"The former Nou Camp idol is growing increasingly irritated by persistent approaches from Chelsea," the paper reports. "His advisors made it clear to Abramovich that Guardiola does not appreciate the mounting pressure they are putting on him."

Most of the day's back pages lead with reaction to Manchester City's exit from European competition after a defeat on Tuesday night left them bottom of their group.

"Chumpions of Europe" crows the Daily Express, referring to the fact that City have statistically produced the worst ever display in the tournament by an English side.

The Daily Star takes a similar angle - "Worst of the lot" - as do both the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph, who label Roberto Mancini's side "the worst ever".

Now Paper Round is not about to sit here and defend City for not managing a single win. But we do feel the need to point out that every single one of these newspapers reported back in August that City had been drawn in one of the worst Groups of Death ever seen in the Champions League. They were drawn against the champions of Spain, Germany and the Netherlands, for goodness sakes, making their meagre points tally if not acceptable then at least moderately understandable.

The days's biggest slice of transfer gossip revolves around Wesley Sneijder, who is currently at loggerheads with employers Inter Milan after being ordered to accept a cut to his £180,000-a-week wages.

Manchester United had long been seen as the most likely destination for the Dutchman, but The Daily Star reports that Alex Ferguson has completely gone off the idea of signing him - leaving the way clear for Manchester City to step in.

City have been consistently rebuffed in their approaches to Roma for Daniele De Rossi, and will apparently be more than happy to nip in and sign Sneijder should he fail to agree new terms with Inter.

Liverpool's search for a new goalkeeper produces several column inches, with the Reds apparently keen on bringing in England and Birmingham youngster Jack Butland. The story adds that Pepe Reina - tipped for a move to Arsenal just yesterday - will certainly leave Anfield should the move for the 19-year-old go ahead.

If Butland does go, he will have plenty of company from his England U21 days, the Mail adds, with a £12m deal for Daniel Sturridge and a £6m move for Thomas Ince (son of Paul) both said to be in the final stages of negotiation.

Fernando Llorente's confirmation that he wants to leave Athletic Bilbao on a free transfer at the end of the season has put Tottenham "on red alert", The Sun reports.

Swansea's Michu has been one of the revelations of the season, and the striker's prowess has been noticed in Serie A, The Sun reports, with Napoli and Genoa preparing January bids for the 26-year-old.

And finally, our imaginary prize for the most ridiculous story of the day goes to the Daily Mail for reporting that "of Arsenal's chief transfer targets has taken a swipe at the club that will likely alienate him from his prospective team-mates."

The player in question is Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha, who Tweeted, "I swear I'm going to stop watching Arsenal" when the Gunners fell 2-1 behind in their Champions League match on Tuesday night.

The truth? Zaha has been a Gunners fan his whole life and clearly posted the message with his fan hat on, rather than his up-and-coming football star hat. Far from alienating him his comments will almost certainly endear him to his new team-mates when they realise he's been cheering them on for years.