Premier League - Paper Round: Liverpool and Chelsea vie for 'sensation'

Liverpool and Chelsea both want to sign Serbian sensation Lazar Markovic; West Ham and Hull are targeting a top AC Milan player; and one Spain defender is wanted by Arsenal, Manchester City and United – the top stories from the papers.

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Premier League - Paper Round: Liverpool and Chelsea vie for 'sensation'
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Benfica's Lazar Markovic celebrates his goal against Pacos Ferreira (Reuters)

Liverpool and Chelsea vie for sensation’ - Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is ready to muscle in on Chelsea’s attempts to sign Serbian sensation Lazar Markovic, according to The Metro. The Benfica winger has long been a target for the Blues but the report claims that Rodgers is now on the 20-year-old’s trail as he looks to add depth to his squad with Champions League football beckoning next term. The Portuguese giants value former Partizan Belgrade man Markovic at around £20 million.

Paper Round’s view: Markovic’s name is being brought up in transfer talk more and more as the summer draws closer and there is no question that Chelsea, in particular, desperately need to bolster their forward ranks at the end of the season. Reports in Portugal suggest Chelsea are in the driving seat for Markovic’s signature, but if Liverpool do manage to clinch the Premier League title, their pulling power in this and other transfer tug-of-wars should increase significantly. Do they need him as much as Jose Mourinho’s side? That leads to the question of whether Luis Suarez will stay at Anfield, of course.

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‘West Ham and Hull target AC Milan player’ - West Ham and Hull are leading the chase for AC Milan's £3m-rated Ghana midfielder and former Portsmouth player Sulley Muntari, according to the Daily Mirror. The 29-year-old will be available at a knockdown price with just 12 months left on his current deal at the San Siro. Bruce wants Muntari to bolster his engine room after apparently having shown a clear interest in the midfielder in January, only for a potential deal to collapse. He will now renew his interest, however, with West Ham joining the race for his signature.

Paper Round’s view: It is clear that Muntari will be offered to other clubs as Milan embark on a significant summer shake-up, and this transfer talk seems pretty likely given his previous experience in the Premier League and Bruce’s apparent admiration for his energy and drive from midfield. As for the Hammers, they seem to be very much in second place at this stage given Bruce’s links to the player, but Sam Allardyce will be very aware that he needs to strengthen in the summer – if indeed he is afforded another season at the club.

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Arsenal, City and United eye Spain defender’ - Sevilla defender Alberto Moreno is reportedly at the centre of a five-club Premier League transfer war, according to the Metro. The 21-year-old left-back is wanted by Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool. In addition, Real Madrid are also said to be interested in Moreno, who is valued at around £30m by Sevilla.

Paper Round’s view: Moreno’s destination could well be influenced by the race for Southampton and England left-back Luke Shaw’s signature and so he could well be a link in a football transfer chain. Whichever top club misses out on Shaw is therefore likely to turn their attention swiftly to Moreno, who was apparently watched by City’s sporting director Txiki Begiritstain as Sevilla lost 1-0 in their Europa League quarter-final. Would he represent better value than Shaw? It’s very possible.

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‘Leeds to hand Zola big chance’ - Massimo Cellino will consider appointing Gianfranco Zola to the role of Leeds United head coach if the club’s prospective new owner opts to sack Brian McDermott as part of a shake-up at Elland Road, according to The Times. The Italian agriculture magnate is expected to rubber-stamp his £25m buyout of the embattled Championship club this week after controversially winning his appeal against the Football League’s decision to veto the takeover. He will move to appoint the out of work Zola if he is given the opportunity, report the paper.

Paper Round’s view: Zola has been out of work since resigning as Watford manager in December but Cellino clearly believes that the former Chelsea and Italy forward is the right man to take Leeds forward. Cellino managed to persuade Zola to finish his illustrious playing career with Cagliari, the Serie A club that he owns, and is known to favour a head coach with a focus on training the team and a director of football, as opposed to a manager responsible for overseeing both duties. Would he be a success? His managerial career is very mixed, but he remains popular wherever he goes.

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