Van Gaal to spend £60m on player Fergie let go for nothing: The Daily Express reports that Manchester United are "plotting a sensational £60m move for Chelsea target Paul Pogba next summer." Pogba was on the books at United as a youngster but was allowed to run down his contract and join Juventus for a big wage rise (and a paltry tribunal fee for United) and he almost instantly began to show that he is one of the most talented players in Europe. It seems that Pogba might be up to the same trick again: Juventus are reportedly willing to sell since the French star ASAP to maximise what they get for him, since his contract now has less than two years left to run.
Paper Round's view: The great Zinedine Zidane called letting Pogba go "a mistake" by Ferguson - and to our mind it was his biggest - but the United boss would probably have been too proud to try to bring Pogba back. Van Gaal, though, is clearly after the best players he can attract. Yet this does all seem a bit unlikely: there's too much bad blood between Pogba and the club where he spent his formative years, and considering that his new contract negotiations are ongoing this could well be a story planted by an agent looking to force Juve into adding a few extra zeroes to the end of the weekly pay cheque.
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Courtois to be handed bumper new deal: The Daily Telegraph reports that Chelsea goalkeeper is to ink a new five-year contract that "will more than double his £30,000-a-week wages and will include clauses that will see his pay increase further once he meets various targets and milestones." Courtois had refused to extend his existing deal until he'd been promised that he was the number one - and now he is, he's staying.
Paper Round's view: It's a remarkable show of confidence from the youngster to hold Chelsea to ransom like that - but after winning a Spanish title and going to the Champions League final with Atletico Madrid last year, he was on solid ground. Chelsea's policy of buying talent young and sending them out on loan has effectively brought them one of the world's best keepers for about a fifth of his true value.
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Cuadrado snubbed Barcelona and United: The Daily Star reports that Juan Cuadrado rejected two of the biggest clubs in Europe to stay at Fiorentina this summer. One of the great on-off transfer sagas of the last window, Cuadrado said that, "I'm happy to stay here," despite the fact that his agent held talks with both Barcelona and Manchester United over a £40 million move.
Paper Round's view: Great to see a player who genuinely seems to value his ties to the club that helped him become the man he is today, and also recognise the importance of actually playing regularly rather than kicking around all week in training just to sit on the bench. And before you suggest that he could just be running down his contract in order to secure a big golden handshake next summer, take into account that his current deal runs for another three years.
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Spurs to cut Assou-Ekotto loose: The Daily Mail suggests that "Benoit Assou-Ekotto's Tottenham future is in doubt" after the Cameroon defender - who made himself notorious at the World Cup by apparently headbutting a team-mate - has been left out of the club's final squad for the Premier League. The 30-year-old "has fallen behind Danny Rose and Ben Davies for a starting place."
Paper Round says: The eight years are at an end - his future was surely always in doubt from the moment that World Cup fracas took place.
- Sports & Recreation
- Manchester United
- Paul Pogba