‘United to buy five more Matas’ – Manchester United are targeting as many as five more signings of Juan Mata’s calibre as David Moyes begins the most radical overhaul of United’s first team in almost 20 years, that’s according to a report in the Sunday Times. They are apparently looking for top full-backs on either flank, at least two midfielders and another leading forward. Moves are being considered for Bayern Munich’s Toni Kroos and Mario Mandzukic, Paul Pogba and Arturo Vidal of Juventus, Inter Milan’s Fredy Guarin, FC Porto’s Fernando Reges and Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus. Oh, and Glen Johnson of Liverpool.
Paper Round’s view: It’s rare to see this kind of report come from the Sunday Times, but it only reflects what many of the other papers are alleging with United clearly desperate to stage a comprehensive revamping of their haggard squad. With Patrice Evra set to leave at the end of the campaign and Javier Hernandez, Nani, Rafael, Alex Buttner and Wilfried Zaha all set to head for the exits, this overhaul is going to be pretty dramatic. Moyes knows that his future at the club is on the line with the recruitments he makes vital over the next 12 months.
‘Mata’s arrival to spark huge Red revolution’ – The Daily Telegraph are not to be overshadowed by their broadsheet rivals this morning as they report that United will spend ‘beyond £64.5m’ in this January transfer window alone. Moyes’s ‘Bundesliga reconnaissance mission’ is to produce one-to-two signings to add to the capture of Mata. There is interest in midfielder Patrick Herrmann while Moyes is still assessing striker Max Kruse and is aware that Bayern defender Dante is unsettled. He is also sounding out the possibility of signing Toni Kroos from Bayern Munich or Marco Reus from Borussia Dortmund.
Paper Round’s view: It was an unusually high-profile approach for such a high-profile manager, but Moyes has taken the decision that by travelling in person he will be able to, as one source put it, “do the sales job” of persuading his targets to come to United. It gives the impression that Moyes has lost patience trusting in Ed Woodward to close key deals for him and he is now sending the clear message to United fans that he is going to take the initiative and make this happen himself. It is a bold statement of intent, but supporters may fear that his drive to clinch deals in the market may well deflect his attention from actually producing results on the pitch.
‘Chelsea reach verbal agreement for star’ - Chelsea have reached a ‘verbal agreement’ to sign Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa in the summer, according to various reports in the papers this morning. Spanish broadcaster ‘La Sexta’ has quoted agent Francois Gallardo, who says the Blues are ready to meet Costa’s £32m buy-out clause. A deal could yet see goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois move in the other direction, with the Belgian international having spent the last two-and-a-half years on loan with Atletico, where is held in high regard.
Paper Round’s view: Gallardo has a reputation for making extravagant claims regarding transfers. But despite the question marks over Gallardo’s reliability when it comes to transfer news, numerous sources have recently claimed Costa will be moving to Stamford Bridge at the end of the season. There is no doubt that Chelsea will sign a high-profile striker in the summer with Demba Ba and Fernando Torres likely to leave the club, while Samuel Eto’o is also believed to be likely to leave. It all paves the way for a big reshuffle for Mourinho over the summer in the forward department.
‘West Ham to bring in former Liverpool and Chelsea midfielder’ – The Hammers are looking to sign Portuguese midfielder Raul Meireles on loan, that’s according to various paper reports this morning. The former Liverpool and Chelsea man joined Fenerbahce in 2012 for £8 million but has fallen down the pecking order at the Turkish club and sees a return to England as the ideal way to revive his career. Hammers boss Sam Allardyce is looking for a short-term midfield fix following injuries to Joe Cole and Mohamed Diame in the Capital One Cup semi-final second leg loss to Manchester City in midweek.
Paper Round’s view: The experienced Meireles, who has 79 caps for Portugal, surely fits the bill perfectly and would welcome the chance to play regular football to boost his chances of going to the World Cup in Brazil this summer. The 30-year-old will be a welcome addition to Allardyce’s stretched squad.