Paper Gossip: Rooney Signs New United Deal, Evra's Extension and Messi to City?

Alex Dimond@alexdimondUK Lead WriterFebruary 16, 2014

Paper Gossip: Rooney Signs New United Deal, Evra's Extension and Messi to City?

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    Sunday's papers bring big news surrounding Wayne Rooney's Manchester United future, while there is also some interesting details about Patrice Evra's expiring contract situation.

    Elsewhere, there are new reports surrounding Chelsea and Arsenal's summer transfer targets—while Manchester City's Pablo Zabaleta appears to have come up with an interesting plan to lure Barcelona's Lionel Messi to the Etihad Stadium.

    All that and much more is included in our round-up, so click on for all of Sunday's biggest stories.

Wayne Rooney Set to Sign Record-Breaking New Manchester United Contract

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    Alastair Grant/Associated Press

    The Sunday Times (subscription required) reports that Wayne Rooney has signed a blockbuster new contract with Manchester United, one that will keep him at the club until 2018.

    The newspaper reports that the deal is worth around £300,000-a-week—the biggest in the Premier League—ending speculation that Rooney might leave Old Trafford at the conclusion of his current deal, which was due to expire in the summer of 2015.

    The Times reports:

    Wayne Rooney has signed a new contract with Manchester United that will keep him at the club until 2018. The deal is believed to be worth around £70m to the England striker, who nearly joined Chelsea last summer.

    Rooney's salary will be £300,000-a-week, making him the best-paid player in the Premier League.

    The 28-year-old nearly joined Manchester City in 2011 and was understood to be interested in a move last season after falling out with then boss, Sir Alex Ferguson. When David Moyes, who managed the player at Everton until he left for Old Trafford in 2004, joined the club in the summer it was unclear if Rooney would stay. At the time he had two years left on a contract that saw him paid £250,000-a-week.

    Rooney's decision to sign the new contract—which was also reported by Charlie Wyett The Sun (subscription required)—is believed to have partly stemmed from the signing of Juan Mata, which convinced the England player of United's long-term ambitions.

    But the spending is unlikely to stop there, with the Times adding:

    United's spending is unlikely to stop with Mata and Rooney, with influential midfielders and replacements for [Nemanja] Vidic and [Rio] Ferdinand a priority. Moves are being considered for Bayern Munich's Toni Kroos and Mario Mandzukic, as well as Paul Pogba and Arturo Vidal of Juventus.

    Southampton's talented left-back Luke Shaw and Paris St Germain striker Edinson Cavani are also possible targets.

    The Mirror's Simon Mullock, meanwhile, claims that Borussia Dortmund have shown an interest in taking Shinji Kagawa back—opening the door to a possible swap deal involving Ilkay Gundogan.

Mourinho Wants Cavani and Shaw Signed Before World Cup

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    Jose Mourinho wants Chelsea to complete the signings of Edinson Cavani and Luke Shaw before the start of the World Cup, according to the Sunday Mirror's Simon Mullock.

    The paper reports:

    The Chelsea manager insists he wants just two major acquisitions this summer and the club are already believed to be working on deals for Paris Saint-Germain’s Uruguay striker Cavani and Southampton starlet Shaw.

    Mourinho is not planning to go to Brazil for the World Cup finals – instead going on a charity mission with the World Food Programme this summer.

    Sunday Mirror Sport revealed last month that Cavani is the major signing Mourinho has targeted to propel his squad back into the top bracket of European football.

    Cavani is unsettled playing in a wide role at PSG, and it is believed his representatives have sounded out potential buyers, with Chelsea at the front of the queue.

    A deal for Cavani would probably need to break the £50 million British transfer record fee Chelsea paid Liverpool for Fernando Torres three years ago.

    But Chelsea will partially fund the deal by off-loading Romelu Lukaku and Demba Ba in the summer.

    Following the Blues' defeat to Manchester City on Saturday Mourinho seemed to once again indicate his desire to sign a striker at the next available opportunity, perhaps sparking the latest rumours surrounding Cavani.

    Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa is also believed to be a target, per the Express' James Dickenson.

Pablo Zabaleta to Try and Lure Messi to Man City with 'Fish and Chips'

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    Pablo Zabaleta has revealed he will try to help Manchester City bring his old friend Lionel Messi to the club—with the lure of fish and chips.

    Zabaleta knows Messi well from when both were in Barcelona—Zabaleta was at Espanyol, Messi was coming through the ranks of the Blaugrana—and will go face-to-face with his compatriot on Tuesday when City and Barcelona meet in the Champions League.

    The Daily Mail's Joe Bernstein reports:

    Zabaleta could also be a useful ally in 'Operation Messi' and he will not rule out his mate one day running out in the blue of City.

    "You always expect the best players to be in the Premier League and I think every single player in the world always wants to come here. It would also mean they will make this league even better, so we'll see," said Zabaleta.

    They have spoken together about City in the past. "Three months after I signed for City [in 2008], I went back to Barcelona because we had a couple of days off. I went to his house and everybody was talking about the new owners, the big money—and that is why we were talking about Manchester City."

    And what could Zabaleta offer Messi as an incentive to join City?

    "Maybe I could take him out to Didsbury for fish and chips. I think he'd like that! Spain is more similar to our life in South America. It's practically the same thing, same language, same culture. It is different here but after six years I can say I am a Mancunian."

Arsenal Could Lose out to Real Madrid in Summer Draxler Hunt

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    Frank Augstein/Associated Press

    The Daily Mail's Rob Shepherd also reports that Arsenal could find they end up missing out on top target Julian Draxler in the summer, if Real Madrid are unable to sign Luis Suarez from Liverpool.

    Shepherd claims that Draxler is on Real's wishlist of summer signings, and he could become their top priority if Suarez proves too expensive—or if the Uruguayan opts to stay at Anfield if the Reds qualify for the Champions League.

    Shepherd writes:

    Arsenal’s hopes of signing Julian Draxler in the summer could be dashed by Real Madrid.

    Gunners boss Arsene Wenger insisted he would not pay ‘over the top’ for the 20-year-old Schalke player in the January transfer window when the fee moved up from around £30million to £37m.

    It remains to be seen whether that decision will come back to haunt Wenger if Arsenal’s assault on trophies falters yet again because his squad - in need of a goal scorer - comes up short.

    Reports in Spain suggest Draxler is now on Real’s radar. Ideally Madrid want to lure Luis Suarez from Liverpool in the summer.

    However, the new deal Suarez signed with Liverpool recently means his release clause puts his fee in the 100m euro mark.

    And even Madrid are having to tighten their belts to at least appear as though they are playing ball with FIFA’s new financial fair play rules.

    Besides, if Liverpool do qualify for the Champions League Suarez himself could well feel more at ease in honouring his £200,000-plus-a-week deal with the Reds.

Bits and Pieces: Micah Richards on Liverpool Radar

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    According to The Sun's Charlie Wyett (subscription required), Liverpool and Galatasaray are ready to pay £8m to land Manchester City's Micah Richards in the summer, after Manuel Pellegrini made the defender available at the right price.

    Liverpool are also keeping tabs on Levante's Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas, reports the Alan Nixon of the Sunday People, although Everton are also believed to be interested in the 27-year-old.

    The Observer reports that a disagreement over agents is at the heart of Ravel Morrison's recent troubles at West Ham—with chief football reporter Daniel Taylor writing that the midfielder's refusal to take on Sam Allardyce's advice over his representation leading to his loan move to QPR.

    Philipp Lahm has suggested that a move to Manchester United would be a step down for his Bayern Munich and Germany team-mate Toni Kroos, per James Dickenson of the Sunday Express.

    The Sunday People's Alan Oliver reports that Newcastle manager Alan Pardew could be just one game from the sack, as unrest grows around the club.

    And, finally, Duncan Castles of The Sunday Times (subscription required) reports that Patrice Evra has played enough games for Manchester United this season to trigger an automatic one-year extension—one the paper expects club and player to reach an agreement on.