Man United turn to Hummels as Ferdinand replacement: According to the Express, Manchester United are set to make a move for Borussia Dortmund centre-half Mats Hummels as they look to replace the outgoing Rio Ferdinand. The former England captain confirmed that he will not be offered a new contract at Old Trafford and will leave the club in June, though he plans to continue his playing career elsewhere. And with the imminent departure of Ferdinand’s central defensive partner Nemanja Vidic, the Red Devils are in desperate need of an experienced defender, with Hummels the reported target. The 25-year-old has been a long-term target for United, and, despite a lack of European football on offer at Old Trafford next year, Hummels could be persuaded to join by Louis van Gaal - who is expected to replace David Moyes.
Paper round’s view: Ferdinand had been hoping to land a new deal at Old Trafford, extending his stay until 2015, though the United hierarchy, who are reportedly keen on a squad overhaul, obviously had other plans. United have endured one of their toughest seasons in recent history this year and will desperately want to restore some pride throughout the next campaign. It’s the end of an era with Ferdinand and Vidic leaving, and the new boss will need a couple of high-profile signings that will bring experience and promise to a club that is in a period of transition.
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Shaw set for United: Manchester United will sign Luke Shaw from Southampton for £27 million, the Daily Mail claims with some certainty. The England left-back is on the brink of completing the transfer and a deal is expected to be announced before the World Cup starts next month. Despite interest from Manchester City and Chelsea, United are confident of having enticed the 18-year-old to Old Trafford. Shaw will replace Patrice Evra and it was the youngster's expectation of getting first-team football that clinched the deal, the paper reports.
Paper Round's view: This would represent quite a coup for United, given they cannot offer Champions League football and considering Chelsea were seen as front-runners for Shaw's signature for so long. Shaw perhaps believes last season to be nothing more than a blip in United's history, while his swift signing would be a clear statement of intent from United, who are keen not to go down the same route as last summer, when their dithering made them the laughing stock of the transfer market.
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Hodgson aims to ban agents: Shaw and current team-mate Adam Lallana are under strict orders to sort out their summer moves before the World Cup begins. The Daily Mirror reports that England coach Roy Hodgson has told the pair - and the rest of his squad - that he does not want transfer dealings to be a distraction this summer. Lallana is expected to sign for Liverpool in a £20m deal.
Paper Round's view: Despite the headline, there is no mention of anything as draconian as banning agents in the story but the sentiments from Hodgson are there: clear up your futures before we get to Brazil. And it's a fair point - anyone going to represent their country at a World Cup should be focused on one thing and one thing only: winning football matches. How much cash they stand to make for their clubs must take a back seat for at least a month.
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Hodgson may have cocked up: The Sun's back page headline is rather startling, pronouncing as it does that Hodgson may made an "almighty cock up" over his decision to omit Ashley Cole from his squad. The reports claims that Hodgson has confessed he might have made a big error of judgement by dumping the Chelsea defender and that he has left the door open for Cole, who has now retired from international football. Hodgson fears that an injury to Leighton Baines in the run up to the tournament may render his choice a poor one.
Paper Round's view: Yes, Hodgson did say, "Circumstances could make the decision a very good one or it could make it a very bad one", and yes he did say, "An injury against Peru would make the selection of Shaw a very bad selection". But, he did also say, “If we go through the World Cup with Baines playing the majority of games and Shaw coming on and doing well it makes it a very good one." And isn't that what it's all about? Team selection in a contentious position is always a risky business and it can always go either way. Just because The Sun decide to go down the (hysterically over-the-top) route does not mean that's the way it is. Hodgson, as usual, was simply being pragmatic.
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Rooney takes fitness gurus on holiday with him: Wayne Rooney has taken two fitness specialists on holiday in a bid to ensure he is 100 per cent fit for the World Cup. The Sun is among the papers to report that the Manchester United striker is desperate to be fully fit for Brazil, to the extent that he is willing to fly out the personal trainers to Portugal at his own expense. Rooney missed United's final three Premier League games of the season with a groin problem.
Paper Round's view: Given his prior injury woes ahead of major international tournaments, it's quite a novel idea to have a fully-fit Rooney firing on all cylinders at a World Cup. And that fact that he has paid for these trainers - and that he ran the risk of incurring the wrath of Colleen by inviting them on holiday - says a great deal about his own determination to give a good account of himself in Brazil. That can only be good for England.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Man United
- Rio Ferdinand
- Mats Hummels
- Old Trafford
- Luke Shaw