Panic at United: Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has hit the panic button and launched a desperate double bid for Arturo Vidal and Daley Blind with the closure of the transfer window approaching. The Daily Mirror's back page claims Van Gaal has four days to save United's season with the Dutchman belatedly telling Ed Woodward to pursue Vidal and Blind. The paper reports that Juventus are willing to cash in on the £30m-rated Vidal, while Blind is available from Ajax if United pay £15m. The Sun's figure for the Netherlands defender is higher at "over £20m".
Paper Round's view: Despite their transfer activity so far this summer - £131m shelled out thus far - there is a sense of inevitability that United have reached this stage - four days and counting to bolster their squad in the two positions they needed to strengthen all along. So no wonder there is a sense of panic at Old Trafford. Given the time constraints the club is now facing, Vidal has become an essential purchase, and that means taking a punt on his dodgy knee and paying whatever Juve want for him. Blind is less of a gamble, but he is equally vital to Van Gaal's rebuilding plans - unfortunately Ajax know this, and they will rinse United for all they can. Woodward has no choice now but to dig into the Glazer family's cash reserves and pay up.
- - -
Carvalho back on United radar: Meanwhile, the Daily Mail reports that United have spoken to Sporting about William Carvalho, who represents an alternative to Vidal in central midfield. The Lisbon club have dropped their initial asking price for the Portugal international to £23.8m, although United are aware they face competition from Arsenal for his signature.
Paper Round's view: Carvalho is not in the same league as Vidal, but at 22 offers a more long-term option. That said, Van Gaal's United need instant results, not in a few years time, and Vidal arguably remains their best bet, even if Carvalho comes cheaper and without the same injury baggage.
- - -
Hull target Uruguay World Cup star: Steve Bruce is on the brink of sealing a deal for Uruguay World Cup striker Abel Hernández, according to the Daily Telegraph. The Palermo player visited Hull's Cottingham training ground yesterday and is expected to sign for the club who have aspirations of reaching the Europa League's group stage when they take on Belgium's KSC Lokeren on Thursday looking to overturn a one-goal deficit from the first leg.
Paper Round's view: Hull have come a long way under Bruce, there is no doubting that, but this is another step entirely. Signing a player of Hernandez's quality would be a major coup for the Tigers, and it's a move that certainly seems likely to happen - there is photographic evidence of Hernandez boarding a plane in Palermo on his way to Hull, and also of him at Cottingham, where he even met with some Hull fans. A huge step up from Jordan Rhodes.
- - -
Hodgson to call up youngsters: It is widely reported that Roy Hodgson will turn to youth when he announces his latest England squad later today. The Times identifies Calum Chambers, Danny Rose Fabian Delph and John Stones as the youngsters who will be included in the group for the friendly at home to Norway on Wednesday and the opening European Championship qualifying match away to Switzerland five days later.
Paper Round's view: Given injuries and recent international retirements, Hodgson is right to go with youth - he does not have a great deal of other options. But whether this is an exciting new generation of world beaters is yet to be seen. It certainly hasn't captured the imagination of the public as yet, with Wednesday's game at Wembley set for the stadium's lowest attendance since it was redeveloped.
- - -
Henry at centre of TV tug of war: Former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry is at the centre of a tug-of-war between rival television stations. The New York Red Bulls forward has dabbled in punditry before and was a big hit for Sky Sports last season and the BBC during the World Cup. Sky now believe they have beaten off competition from BT Sport and the BBC to sign up the Frenchman to join their roster of big-name former players, which includes Gary Neville, Jamie Redknapp and Jamie Carragher, according to the Daily Mirror.
Paper Round's view: It's easy to see why Henry is such a big hit and why there is a fight to win his allegiances. His suave, laid-back but knowledgeable performances offer a different perspective to the hard-nosed English pro view of Neville, Redknapp and Carragher. And given Sky's fight to retain Premier League rights, his signing would represent a major coup.
- - -
- Sports & Recreation
- Arturo Vidal
- Manchester United
- Daley Blind
- Louis van Gaal
- William Carvalho