Van Gaal ‘agrees to take United job’: In a story originally reported on the continent by De Telegraaf in the Netherlands, and picked up by several English tabloids including The Daily Mirror, Louis van Gaal has reportedly agreed to take over as Manchester United manager next season, and will sign a three-year deal as soon as the various lawyers involved have finishing dotting 'i's and crossing 't's. The Dutchman was always considered favourite to land the job in the wake of David Moyes’ sacking, but the club immediately issued a statement to deny they had picked a new chief: "There is nothing to report. We have not signed a new manager. When we have something to announce, we will announce it."
Paper Round’s view: Remember when United responded to the snowballing speculation that Moyes’ time was up by stating that he had not been sacked – then sacked him just a few hours later? The above statement is about just as vague. De Telegraaf failed to cite a source for their story, but Old Trafford is clearly leakier than a collander that's been used for target practice at a shooting range. The fact that most bookies are suspending betting, and that William Hill has cut Van Gaal's odds from 8-13 to 1-6, says it all. The rumours are far more credible than United's denial - the strong likelihood is that they have arranged LVG’s arrival, but the final signing on the dotted line remains on the to-do list.
UPDATE: William Hill have now suspended betting after a rush of huge bets on Van Gaal from the continent, even at the new, short price. Read into that what you will...
Rodgers ready to sign enhanced Liverpool deal: The Guardian and others today bring us one of the most unsurprising, yet biggest and most deserved managerial contract stories of recent times. Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers, who has revitalised the fallen giants and is within reach of securing their first league title of the Premier League era, has 14 months left on his initial three month deal and, though he is understandably happy to postpone talks until Liverpool’s title hunt is over, can expect a huge hike in his terms.
Paper Round’s view: This may go down as the shortest PRV in history. Basically, tie that man down with whatever salary he asks for. Otherwise, the entire concept of rewarding success will crumble.
Monaco in big money last-ditch Wenger attempt: A story that has been picked up on numerous occasions returns, as Monaco are set to make one final effort to convince Arsene Wenger he should return to the French side with a staggering £12.4 million a year after tax, claim The Mail via the French papers. Wenger has repeatedly professed his loyalty to Arsenal, however, and appears more likely to sign a new deal at the Emirates in the coming weeks.
Paper Round’s view: This does indeed strike us as a non-story. Wenger will likely remain at Arsenal as long as he can until the day comes that he no longer wants to manage. Unless, of course, the club decide themselves they want to part ways. With the board also as keen to keep their relationship going with Arsene as he is, it’d take something drastic to slant their stance, surely. So, hypothetically, if Hull beat Arsenal in the FA Cup final and Everton pip them to fourth, perhaps then the Gunners will consider a new chapter and leave Wenger free to return to France (if Monaco haven’t found someone else by then).
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