Premier League - Paper Round: Chelsea to gazump Liverpool over Salah

Chelsea could be about to step in an snatch away Liverpool's main January target but might have a hard job landing Wayne Rooney - here are the main stories making headlines in today's papers.

Chelsea ready to gazump Liverpool for Salah: Chelsea have launched a late bid to rival Liverpool for FC Basle forward/wideman Mohamed Salah, according to the Daily Mail and reports in the Egyptian press. Salah has been long linked with Liverpool and was expected to be their big January capture but Chelsea are now said to be keen after selling Kevin De Bruyne and with Juan Mata seemingly on his way to Manchester United. Salah was thought to be valued around £12 million but Basle, sensing an auction, have asked for £16m for the 21-year-old and will now await improved offers.

Paper Round's view: Liverpool may have paid the price for haggling over a fee yet again (Clint Dempsey anyone?). If Salah was the man they really wanted they should have locked him, ready to announce on January 1st. Chelsea are hard to beat in the transfer market at the best of times, but with them flushed with cash after two big sales, it is hard to see Liverpool being able to compete if it is a straight bidding war for the player. Liverpool may have built up some goodwill with Salah but they certainly need to act fast now if they are to get their man. Chelsea certainly know all about the player after he starred against them in the Champions League earlier this season.

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Rooney makes United u-turn: It may be 'Crisis Point' for United after last night's League Cup exit at the hands of Sunderland, but to every cloud there is a silver lining - and in this case it is the news that Wayne Rooney wants to stay beyond next season. That's the claim in the Daily Mirror this morning, with United ready to open talks with him once they have tied up the signing of Juan Mata. The paper says that United boss David Moyes has instructed his money-men to start discussions with Rooney in a bid to keep the England striker out of Chelsea's grasp in the summer.

Paper Round's view: The headline and opening gambit of the article claim that Rooney himself is keen on contract talks, but the remainder of the piece fails to back up that view - it merely adds that the club are ready to open talks on a new deal. So nothing new there. That's not to say that Mata's arrival at Old Trafford will not tempt Rooney to stay on beyond this season, but until Rooney himself speaks out - something he has seemed reluctant to do - we are all pretty much in the dark.

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Chelsea planning renewed Rooney bid: Despite the Mirror's claims, The Times reports today that Chelsea are plotting another bid to sign Rooney in the summer, in the belief that his expiring contract will enable them to get him on the cheap. The paper is clear that Rooney's name has not been discussed in this week's Mata talks between the two clubs but he "remains very much in José Mourinho’s plans for next season". The London club believe that selling Mata to United may even increase their chances of landing the England striker, given that the Spain midfielder could be viewed as an ideal replacement for Rooney.

Paper Round's view: Chelsea may not mind selling a top player to United, but the outgoing champions (barring a miracle) have made it clear they do not wish to do likewise - as evidenced by the two Blues bids that were rejected last summer. Reports yesterday claimed that Real Madrid were interested and the Spanish club would surely be more preferable destination in United's eyes, should the decision be made to offload Rooney. Still, that won't stop Chelsea from trying and United may come to a point where they are forced to sell up, or face writing off a £20m-plus fee and destabilising the dressing room should the player want out.

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Cardiff confident of getting Zaha: In yet more Manchester United transfer news (it was always going to be all about them this month, wasn't it?), Cardiff City expect to sign Red Devils misfit Wilfried Zaha, according to the Daily Mirror. But the report makes clear that the England winger has not yet had a medical ahead of a move to the Welsh club. Zaha was spotted leaving the Bridgewater Hospital in Manchester on Wednesday, but the Mirror "understands" that he was having a regulation x-ray on his toe after a picking up a knock while playing for the reserves.

Paper Round's view: Zaha's exit from United seems as certain as Mata's from Chelsea. This news of a non-medical is unlikely to throw any spanners in the works and with the player having little chance of breaking into the first team under Moyes, his future clearly lies elsewhere.

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Senderos targeted by Italian giants: In rare non-Manchester United news, Philippe Senderos is ready to quit Fulham after being targeted by Serie A side Lazio, reports the Daily Express. In a brief report, the paper claims that contract talks to keep the 28-year-old at Craven Cottage have been put on hold until the end of the season. It adds that the Switzerland international will become a free agent in the summer and can open negotiations with clubs from the continent.

Paper Round's view: If Senderos wanted to feel wanted by Fulham, the club have failed him here. For a club to say they will only open talks once his contract has already expired is as good as telling the player where to get off. If Lazio are indeed interested, Senderos should jump at the chance.

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