Paper News & Gossip: United Set for Hummels Disappointment, Morata to Arsenal
Saturday's paper gossip sees speculation about three big potential summer deals involving Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham.
There is also further news surrounding Manchester United, with intriguing reports about how the club are planning for the possibility they will be without Champions League football.
Those stories, and many more, are just a few clicks away...
Hummels to Snub Manchester United If They Don't Qualify for Europe
The Daily Express claims that Manchester United will miss out on Borussia Dortmund centre-back Mats Hummels unless they qualify for next season's Champions League.
Yet, even if they do finish in the top four, David Moyes may be pipped to the Germany international's signature by Barcelona—who have already made their interest known.
The paper reports:
Dortmund centre-back Hummels is considered to be one of the finest ball-playing defenders in the game, and United are keen on bringing in a top replacement for the outgoing Nemanja Vidic.
However the German has his heart set on a move to Spanish champions Barcelona, who can guarantee him the domestic and European glory he craves.
Reports in Spain claim the Catalan club have held talks with Hummels as they seek to replace injury-hit veteran Carles Puyol, and the lure of playing alongside some of the world'sbest players could trump any deal United put on the table.
Despite the rumours, Moyes feels that the Red Devils stand a chance of landing the ex-Bayern Munich youngster if they join Europe's elite next season, and will look to match any fee offered by Barcelona.
Arsenal Keen on £15m Morata Deal, Will Not Drop Draxler Interest
Arsenal are increasingly confident of landing Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata in the summer transfer window, with the Daily Telegraph reporting that a fee of around £15m will be required.
The Gunners had tried to lure the forward on loan in January but were rebuffed by Real Madrid—who were worried about their own squad depth if they let the academy product depart.
However, with Real widely expected to sign another striker in the summer, Arsenal are hopeful a deal can be done in the offseason.
Matt Law reports:
Morata is understood to be keen on a permanent switch to the Emirates at the end of the season and Wenger is ready to make a move.
Real are expected to sign a big-name striker in the summer, but could still attempt to secure a buy-back clause in any deal for Morata.
Wenger’s interest in Morata will not end his long-running pursuit of Schalke star Julian Draxler, as the Frenchman wants to sign at least two forwards in the summer.
Nicklas Bendtner is expected to finally quit the Emirates at the end of the season, leaving Wenger two striker spots to fill.
B/R columnist Guillem Balague had previously reported that Morata has agreed a contract in principle with Arsenal.
Atletico Madrid to Offer Roberto Soldado Spurs Escape Route
The paper reports that Atletico are planning for life without star striker Diego Costa and are considering Soldado as a cut-price option.
Spurs paid £26m for the Spaniard last summer, but he has struggled at the club almost ever since, and Atletico may believe the club will cut their losses and sell him back to Spain at a reduced rate.
The Mirror reports:
Chelsea are leading the hunt for Costa, who has become one of the most sought-after strikers in Europe after a stunning season with the Spanish title contenders.
They are likely to sell Costa and see £26million flop Soldado as an ideal replacement—even though the Londoners would probably have to agree to take a big hit on him.
Spain striker Soldado has been inconsistent this season, with former Spurs chairman Sir Alan Sugar even branded him a "donkey" after a recent glaring miss.
Manchester United Plot Friendlies to Make Up Shortfall
The Guardian reports on Saturday that Manchester United are considering playing overseas friendlies next season, should they fail to qualify for any European competition.
United are currently struggling in the Premier League and even a Europa League berth is far from assured, with the potential loss of revenue from being involved in European competition estimated at more than £20m.
The club are considering making up that hole in the finances by playing a series of overseas friendlies at suitable times in the season, using their popularity as a brand to earn back much of the money they will miss out on by not being involved in the Champions League.
Jamie Jackson writes:
For reaching the Champions League last-16 last season United received £28.9m from Uefa, plus around £2m per home game from ticket sales. With the club having played four matches in that campaign at Old Trafford—three group games and the second last-16 leg—that means United earned nearly £35m from the competition.
United are working on a loss of around £20m for failure to play in either of Uefa's club competitions and believe playing friendlies overseas during the gap in their schedule will help recoup a sizeable proportion of this.
United played a testimonial in Saudi Arabia, in January 2008, for the former Wolverhampton Wanderers reserve team player Sami Al-Jaber. The team jetted out to the Middle East directly after a Premier League game against Reading on a Saturday for the friendly two days later in what was a 6,000-mile round trip.
While that exercise yielded the club around £1m, during the six intervening years the increase in social media and new pay-per-view models means they could expect to earn considerable sums from other friendlies, beyond any appearance money offered by the hosts.
Bits and Pieces: Eto'o & Capoue to Inter?
Inter Milan have both Samuel Eto'o and Etienne Capoue on their radar as they plot a summer overhaul, according to Metro.
Manchester United boss David Moyes was in Germany to scout £10m-rated Freiburg centre-back Matthias Ginter on Friday, according to the Daily Mirror.
In his Evening Standard column, West Ham manager Sam Allardyce claimed Man United need to spend £200m on new players in order to get back to their former standing.
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