Premier League - Paper Round: Liverpool to poach surprise Prem star

Liverpool are set to make a shock bid for a top Premier League performer; Real Madrid want to sign a Chelsea stalwart; and Manchester United could be set to sell two expensive stars – the top stories from the morning’s papers.

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Premier League - Paper Round: Liverpool to poach surprise Prem star
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Liverpool's fans hold up scarves and banners

Liverpool to poach surprise Prem star’ - Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is lining-up a summer swoop for Southampton defensive rock Dejan Lovren, according to the Daily Mirror. Croatian international Lovren, 24, has made 25 appearances for the Saints this season and scored the winner against Brendan Rodgers' title-chasers at Anfield in September. The centre-back was heavily linked with the Reds before arriving at St Mary's in a £8.5 million deal from French side Lyon in June.

Paper Round’s view: Liverpool are widely expected to focus on strengthening their defence in the summer as it has been the most generous among the title chasers with 39 Premier League goals conceded. Lovren has been in exceptional form for Southampton this season so, while he has not previously been linked with a big move, it should be little surprise that the likes of Rodgers are keen to acquire his services. With Liverpool’s defence their clear weakness, this would represent a coup for the Anfield club as they look to strengthen their porous back four, especially with Champions League football added to the mix next season.

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Real Madrid eye move for Chelsea stalwart’ – Ashley Cole has been offered an £8 million two-year-deal to join Real Madrid in the summer, according to The Sun. The Chelsea left-back will be a free agent after this season and the paper claim that Real are keen to snap up the England defender with his experience regarded as key for Carlo Ancelotti’s side. The Spanish giants will not waste any time in looking to wrap up a deal for the left-back as soon as possible, according to the report, and Cole will be faced with a decision as to whether to remain in the Premier League with Liverpool or head abroad.

Paper Round’s view: A move to Liverpool, as has been suggested previously in paper reports, may appear to be an easier move for Cole but it may well not the best one. He has always remained in London so a move to Merseyside may not actually be as comfortable as initially thought. An opportunity to join the Spanish giants is one that Cole should not miss and the left-back can now test his talents on the biggest stages in the all-white kit of Real in a different footballing culture as opposed to receiving further weekly abuse around the grounds in England.

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‘United to sell two expensive stars’ - Manchester United midfielder Shinji Kagawa, 25, could be on his way back to former club Borussia Dortmund on loan with a view to a permanent deal, while Wilfried Zaha could leave for a cut-price £5m deal this summer, despite having signed for £10m from Crystal Palace last January. The Daily Mirror report that Kagawa will head back to Germany – that’s despite the Japan international’s impressive display in the 4-1 win over Villa. Meanwhile, The Sun report that Zaha will leave United with David Moyes not a fan of his.

Paper Round’s view: Kagawa has been impressive for United of late, but it has never been clear where exactly he fits into Moyes’s plans. Too often played out of position or not used altogether, it would not be a surprise at all if he were to leave the club in the summer. As for Zaha, it would surely be a disaster for United to abandon his development entirely after having paid £10m for him as recently as last year. He may not have impressed Moyes much so far during his time at the club, but his abilities are obvious if he is developed in the right way. Would Rodgers have got the best out of him? It’s a test of Moyes’s ability to bring young talent through.

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‘Chelsea to revamp forward line entirely’ - Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is planning to revamp his forward line this summer, that’s according to the Guardian. The futures of strikers Demba Ba, 28, Fernando Torres, 30, and on-loan Romelu Lukaku, 20, are all under scrutiny and the paper reports that Mourinho will not be remotely indecisive if offers come in for any of the players this summer. The Chelsea boss will reportedly look to bring in at least two new forwards of his own to bolster his ranks with a marquee signing to give him a striker he can really depend on.

Paper Round’s view: Chelsea are expected to try to prise the Brazil-born Spain striker Diego Costa from Atletico Madrid but the departures of the existing forwards at the club will clearly be dependent on the offers that come in. Ba, Torres and Eto'o, who is recovering from a hamstring injury and is likely to miss Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final at Paris St Germain, have contributed 15 league goals between them this term and Mourinho is not known for his empathy in such situations. Expect big changes in this department from Chelsea over the summer with a heavily bolstered attack come next season.

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