United close in on Di Maria deal: Manchester United are in the box seat to sign Angel Di Maria after Paris Saint-Germain pulled out of the race for the Argentina star. The Daily Mirror reports the French champions would not be able to take on the midfielder due to Financial Fair Play restraints, leaving United as front runners to sign the Real Madrid star. However, the paper adds that United must still agree a fee with Real, who are demanding £48 million, and convince Di Maria to move to Manchester.
Paper Round's view: The report claims Di Maria's first choice of destination was Paris, but would that rule him out of moving to Old Trafford as an alternative option? The lack of Champions League football - European, even - this season is clearly a factor for a player of Di Maria's calibre, but he may also be concerned over a lack of minutes on the pitch in Madrid this campaign, given the wealth of attacking talent in the Spanish club's squad. United have been promising big-name signings all summer long - Di Maria remains the most likely to fit that billing.
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Row over Rojo erupts: The Independent reports a row has broken out between the representatives and part-owners of Manchester United target Marcos Rojo and his club Sporting. Rojo is currently the subject of disciplinary action by the Portuguese club after he refused to train in a bid to engineer a move to Old Trafford. His management company has now hit back and threatened legal action if fees due to it from any rejected bid are not paid. The report adds that Doyen Sports is entitled to a payment from Sporting worth 75 per cent of any declined offer for Rojo - about £12m in this case.
Paper Round's view: This is getting messy and perhaps that is indicative of just how badly Rojo wants a deal to be done. This latest move could well be the key that unlocks Rojo's eventual move to United as, while Sporting have made it clear they do not mind letting the player rot in the reserves, surely they would baulk at having to pay £12m in compensation, having already lost out on a transfer fee and, effectively, the services of a top player.
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Chelsea steeled for Cech bids: Chelsea are readying themselves for a flurry of bids for goalkeeper Petr Cech, according to the Daily Mail. The Czech shot stopper appears to be losing the battle with Thibaut Courtois to be Jose Mourinho's number one for the start of the Blues' season on Monday night at Burnley. Mourinho has said he will reveal who will start on Sunday, with Cech likely to consider his future if Courtois is given the nod (Courtois is likely to do the same if the decision goes against him as his place in the Belgium side would be under threat). Paris Saint-Germain, Monaco and Real Madrid are waiting with baited breath.
Paper Round's view: Courtois was given a full 90 minutes against Real Sociedad on Tuesday, which does give some indication of Mourinho's current thinking. Also, if that thinking takes the future into account, giving a starting berth to Courtois is a no-brainer - he's 22, 10 years younger than Cech, who would likely move on when his contract runs out in two years anyway. Chelsea currently have one of the best young keepers in the world on their books, and to allow him to go just to get two more years of service out of Cech would be madness. All signs point towards PSG, Monaco or Real being free to bid for Cech.
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QPR to sign Zaha: Manchester United winger Wilfried Zaha is set to seal a loan move to Queen's Park Rangers, according to The Sun. The 21-year-old is also wanted by Hull City and Crystal Palace but QPR boss Harry Redknapp is hopeful of enticing the England international to Loftus Road. United boss Louis van Gaal is not looking to sell Zaha, but is keen to see how he progresses in the Premier League. QPR would have pay a similar amount to the £1.5m Cardiff paid to get him on loan in January.
Paper Round's view: If Redknapp can work his transfer magic and persuade Zaha to join QPR, both the player and the club stand to benefit. It's a shame that Zaha's progress has stalled somewhat at United - the boy has talent, no doubt - and a move to another Premier League side should in theory help him along the path to realising his potential.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Manchester United
- Di Maria
- Paris Saint-Germain
- Real Madrid
- Petr Cech