City set for late double deal: Manchester City are in talks with Porto over a £46 million double deadline-day deal for Eliaquim Mangala and Fernando, reports the Daily Mirror. The paper claims that 22-year-old centre-back Mangala is rated at £38m while defensive midfielder Fernando would cost £8m. The Daily Mail meanwhile offers a widely different figure of £35m for the pair, claiming Porto are prepared to reduce the initial asking price if City are willing to do a deal before the end of the day. Both reports acknowledge that deals for the duo may be difficult to pull off given the time restraints of the 11pm deadline.
Paper Round's view: As Sky Sports News will doubtless inform us on countless occasions today, the clock is ticking and if City want to secure these signatures, they will have to move fast. Mangala is, rightly so given the club's preference to find a new partner for Vincent Kompany at the centre of their defence, their number one target, and City will be sure to pull out all the stops. Whether that will be enough to get their man remains to be seen.
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Wenger turns nose up at £37m for Draxler: Arsenal look like missing out on Julian Draxler with Arsene Wenger refusing to pay Schalke's 37m asking price, reports the Daily Mirror. Talks between the two clubs are still ongoing, but the German club are refusing to budge on the fee and also want the vast majority of the cash paid up front which means, the paper claims, a deal is unlikely to happen before tonight's deadline. The impasse, which may still be broken if Schalke lower their demands, means Arsenal are now looking at other options, including Alvaro Morata, Miroslav Klose and Mirko Vucinic. The Mail, meanwhile, report that a deal for Draxler will indeed be done, but that the Gunners are nevertheless looking Morata and Vucinic, in addition.
Paper Round's view: More conflicting reports depending on which news outlet you want to believe - unfortunately, this has always been, is and always will be the story of transfer deadline day. Frankly, who knows if any of these deals are going to get done today, except those present in the boardrooms across Europe. And even some of those probably don't really know what's going on until they see a signature on a dotted line. Things would become a lot clearer if Wenger stopped playing hardball and sanction the money - which his board has already made available - for Draxler, who would be an excellent addition to his squad.
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Liverpool set to sign Konoplyanka: Liverpool face a race against time to sign Ukraine international Yevhen Konoplyanka today, reports the Daily Express. Reds managing director Ian Ayre was locked in discussions for the Dnipro star yesterday and hoping to seal a £15m deal to see off continued interest from Tottenham.
Paper Round's view: Liverpool have clearly been left scarred after Chelsea gazumped them over Mohamed Salah last week and will be determined not to let Spurs steal Konoplyanka from under their noses. That attitude might count for something today, although already the player's ability to succeed in England has been questioned by former Arsenal and Ukraine defender Oleg Luzhny, who branded him a “headline chicken” and someone who doesn't run enough over 90 minutes to justify a move to Anfield.
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Chelsea set to seal Zouma deal: Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is set to complete the £12.5m signing of the St Etienne centre-half Kurt Zouma, according to The Guardian. The Blues will, however, loan him straight back to St Etienne for the remainder of the season as, at the age of 19, he fits into Mourinho's long-term plans for the club.
Paper Round's view: Zouma, who won the U20 World Cup with France last year, is a superb prospect and if handles correctly could be the cornerstone of the Chelsea team for years to come. That much we know. But what is interesting about his impending acquisition is what it means for john Terry, who is out of contract at the end of the season and still waiting to be offered a new deal. If Zouma arrived from France in the summer, does that spell the end of Terry's career at Stamford Bridge?
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Berbat-off again: Dimitar Berbatov is keen on a move back to Tottenham, with the Bulgarian's agent now stationed in London in an attempt to seal a deadline day deal. According to the Daily Telegraph, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy wants the striker back at White Hart Lane, although he faces competition from Turkish club Besiktas. The paper adds that while Berbatov wants to stay in London until the end of the season, he could be tempted by a lucrative offer from Turkey.
Paper Round's view: Berbatov is still held in high regard by Spurs fans, but is he the player he was during his last spell there? Both player and supporters alike should be wary of that and how to manage expectations should a deal go through.
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Hammers to hijack Fulham move for Mitroglou: West Ham are set to hijack Fulham’s £12.4 million swoop for Olympiacos goal machine Kostas Mitroglou, reports the Daily Mirror. And that could wreck Tottenham's aforementioned swoop for Berbatov, as Fulham would have to keep hold of the Bulgarian with Cottagers manager wanting a replacement before allowing the striker to leave. Fulham were ready to offer Mitroglou a four-year deal after intense negotiations with his Greek club but now face the prospect of being gazumped by Sam Allardyce at Upton Park.
Paper Round's view: Wasn't it the same Sam Allardyce who was bemoaning the fact that Everton had treacherously nicked Monaco striker Lacina Traore off them at the last minute not so long ago? And the same manager who was left frustrated by John Heitinga's decision not to move to Upton Park, despite having agreed terms? Oh well, if you can't beat them, join them.
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