Real Madrid plan Rooney bid: Both the Daily Telegraph and The Times report that Real Madrid are lining up a summer swoop for Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney. The Telegraph claims that the Spanish giants have turned their attentions to the £25 million England international as he is a more attainable target than Manchester City's Sergio Aguero, who is contracted at the Etihad Stadium until 2017. Real are aware they are unlikely to prise the Argentine away with The Times reporting that City have no intention of selling their most prized asset. The paper adds that Real also consider Radamel Falcao of Monaco as a more realistic target, with another option, Luis Suarez, likely to command a world record fee and therefore falling into the same category as Aguero.
Paper Round's view: United are adamant that they will not sell Rooney, but if he is to move elsewhere at the end of the season, a deal with a foreign club would surely be preferable to selling him to a direct rival such as Chelsea. A Rooney-Ronaldo reunion at the Bernabeu is a mouthwatering prospect, but don't bank on it just yet - if United can bring in new faces this month, turn around their season, or at least give encouragement for the future, then Rooney may yet decide to stay put.
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Chelsea prepared to sell Mata to United: United are closing in on sealing a deal with Chelsea for Juan Mata, with just the final approval of Jose Mourinho needed before a transfer of more than £40m is rubber stamped. That, according to The Independent, is likely to happen this week with only United prepared to match Chelsea's valuation of a player they believe has a similar value to Mesut Ozil, who cost Arsenal more than £42m in the summer. Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona and Tottenham Hotspur have also been linked with the Spaniard, but are unlikely to go as far as United to get their man. Meanwhile, The Times claims United are hopeful of being able to conclude a deal before the Premier League match at home to Cardiff City on Tuesday.
Paper Round's view: This is one deal that appears to be happening. Mata's future clearly doesn't lie at Chelsea, and with United - in their desperation to salvage their season - the only club willing to go over the £40m mark, it seems as though the only remaining issue is his price. Whether it turns out to be £37m or £42m, it won't matter a jot to United fans, who will surely just be pleased to see a quality player arrive and inject some badly-needed impetus to what has so far been a disastrous season.
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Mata signing to prompt spending spree: The Daily Mail claims that Mata's arrival at Old Trafford will spark a £70m signing spree, with Newcastle midfielder Yohan Cabaye, £7m-rated Bayern Munich defender Dante and Borussia Monchengladbach winger Patrick Herrmann on David Moyes' radar. United are likely to test Newcastle's resolve with a £20m bid for Cabaye, while Dante admitted on Tuesday he hoped a deal could be done before the end of the month. A potential £8.5m offer for 22-year-old Hermann, dubbed 'the new Marco Reus', will follow.
Paper Round's view: That's quite some list, but you'd be forgiven for refusing to believe it until all four are wearing the red of United, given the club's recent failings in the transfer market. The Times suggests that at least the transfer of Dante will not happen, stating in its report that United are not interested in the Brazilian, despite "quotes attributed to the Bayern Munich defender yesterday claiming that the club did want to secure his services". Moyes is set to watch Hermann in action on Friday, but that's no guarantee the player wants to go to Old Trafford, nor that Gladbach will sell up, while there is no meat at all to the Cabaye story. Still, watch this space...
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Laudrup expected to leave Swansea: Michael Laudrup is heading for the exit door at Swansea this summer, even if the club avoid relegation, reports the Daily Mirror. The paper claims that the Welsh club's hierarchy believe this will be the Dane's final season in charge, with the only question remaining being whether he walks himself or is pushed. Laudrup admitted earlier this week that the club is facing "dark days" with the dressing room in turmoil and the manager's relationship with the board at breaking point. Swansea would be willing to reduce his £10m buy-out clause if another club comes in, while it would cost them £4m to pay him off in the summer.
Paper Round's view: Clearly all is not well at Swansea - inevitably that's the impression you get when police are called to the training ground amid reports of one player threatening another with a brick. Whether Laudrup can or should be blamed for the club's malaise is open to debate and it remains to be seen whether Swansea's plight has affected Laudrup as a commodity on the market. What is certain though is that the club needs a change.
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Liverpool eye up De Jong: Liverpool are considering making a loan bid for AC Milan midfielder Nigel de Jong, reports the Daily Mail. With Brazilian Lucas expected to be unavailable for two months through injury, Brendan Rodgers is short in the defensive midfield department. Netherlands international De Jong would be a suitable stop-gap as Liverpool look to maintain their early season form for the remainder of the season.
Paper Round's view: De Jong has Premier League previous, with Manchester City, and would be able to slot into the Liverpool side without too much fuss, one presumes. However, as the report itself indicates, new Milan manager and fellow Dutchman Clarence Seedorf may be reluctant to sanction a move. So don't hold your breath.
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