World Cup - Paper Round: Howard Webb caught up in World Cup favouritism row

Referee Howard Webb has been caught up in a favouritism row at the World Cup; Arsenal are set to gazump Manchester United for a World Cup star; Liverpool hold firm in their valuation of Luis Suarez; Chelsea are set to make a £67 million double swoop - the latest stories making headlines in today's newspapers.

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Football - Howard Webb hangs up his whistle
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Howard Webb (getty images)

Referee Webb caught up in favouritism row: Brazil are furious at what they see as attempts by Chile to put pressure on Howard Webb, reports the Guardian. Several figures from the Chile camp have gone on record regarding what they see as officiating that has favoured the hosts thus far. “I’m very happy to be playing against Brazil but what worries me most is the refereeing,” said Chile star Alexis Sanchez. Such talk has drawn the ire of the Brazilian camp, with Rodrigo Paiva, the director of communications at the Brazilian Football Federation, calling it “ridiculous” pressure. He added “It is a lack of respect to the Brazilian people. Brazil doesn’t need a referee to win the match and you should respect a little bit more the Brazilian Selecao and the Brazilian people.”

Paper Round’s view: Chile, who historically have a dreadful record against Brazil, clearly feel that the home nation are there for the taking. These mind games form an intriguing back story to what should be a great last 16 encounter – but that is exactly what they are, mind games. Howard Webb remains a very competent referee and all this talk will have absolutely no bearing on his performance.

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Arsenal are set to hijack United’s move for Vidal: Cash rich Arsenal are set to gazump Manchester United for Arturo Vidal, claims the Daily Star. United have been long term admirers of the Chile midfielder and were thought to be readying a bid in the region of £30 million. However, Arsenal are set to bid £44 million to ensure they capture the Chilean, who is currently on the books of Juventus.

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Paper Round’s view: Paper Round could not be any more scathing of this report . The reason? Well, it appears that Arsene Wenger confirmed his interest in the player by praising him on French TV – the only problem is that he was on TV as a pundit and not to comment on Arsenal’s transfer targets. The figure of £44 million seems a touch odd too. Why would Arsenal bid £14 million over what United were set to offer?

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Liverpool holding out for £80 million for Suarez: Liverpool will not allow Luis Suarez to leave on the cheap despite his four-month ban, according to the Independent. Liverpool are stuck in limbo with Suarez as they have no right of appeal as the incident for which he was banned happened on international duty. Therefore the club have taken the decision that they will stand firm in the face of expected bids from Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Paper Round’s view: Such is his talent, Suarez’s latest disciplinary issue has not lessened his appeal to the leading lights of world football – and Liverpool are in a truly unique situation: despite his previous indiscretions it seems completely incongruous that the Merseyside club can’t at least appeal the four-month sanction. All they can do at this juncture is try to ward off interest in a player that remains their prize asset – and also protect his value.

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Chelsea ready £67m double swoop: Chelsea are set to make a sensational double swoop for Juventus’s Paul Pogba and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang of Borussia Dortmund, reports the Daily Star. Talks are at an advanced stage for Aubameyang with a deal worth £7 million said to be in the offing, which means the London club are set to bid £60 million for the services of Pogba.

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Paper Round’s view: While a move for Aubameyang makes sense, as he would be a fine back up striker having bagged 13 goals in 21 Bundesliga starts, the £60 million move for Pogba makes little sense. Why? Well, Chelsea are very well stocked in that area – particularly having just signed Cesc Fabregas. Therefore, it makes little football or financial sense to risk falling foul of Financial Fair Play to sign a player that they don’t really need. This is pure paper talk and should be treated as such.

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