Paper Gossip: City Fix Gaze on Suarez, £50m Hazard Bid, Wenger Anger and More
Title fever is taking hold and both Chelsea and Manchester City did their jobs by securing wins on Saturday.
There’s reaction aplenty in the papers, but the Sundays have not forgotten their bread and butter of transfer speculation.
Familiar faces feature prominently, while some who had been under the radar are in focus.
All this and more feature in Sunday’s edition of the Paper News and Gossip Roundup.
City Set Sights on Summer Suarez Bid
Luis Suarez has not made an appearance in the transfer section of the papers for some time, but he’s back.
The striker has been a driving force behind Liverpool’s push for Premier League glory.
It has been his brilliance on the pitch that has been headline news, which consigned last summer’s transfer saga to the memory banks.
But transfer talk is back on the agenda. Duncan Castles of the Sunday Times (Subscription) claims City are planning a “huge investment” to lure the Uruguayan away from Anfield.
In his piece, Castles wrote:
Txiki Begiristain, City’s director of football, knows Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko could ask to leave the Abu Dhabi-owned club this summer and has identified Suarez as his priority for the role of main striker.
He believes the release clause included in the contract the Uruguayan signed at Liverpool in December makes a transfer viable if the player chooses to move.
With Champions League football coming Liverpool’s way, the Reds may well be confident they can fend off any attempts to prise their star man away from the club.
Monaco to Rival Chelsea for Diego Costa
Widespread speculation has linked Chelsea with a summer move for Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa, but Rob Draper of the Mail suggests those plans could be derailed by French moneybags Monaco.
Draper makes the claim that Monaco are readying a £40 million bid, with the sweetener for the player£150,000 a week in tax-free wages.
The French league is not of the same standard as the Premier League, which is in Chelsea’s favour, but Draper points out that Monaco beat Chelsea to the signature of striker Radamel Falcao last summer.
Mourinho Anger over Torres' TV Treatment
A Sky Sports cameraman incurred the wrath of Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho prior to the game with Stoke City on Saturday, per a report from the Mail’s Craig Hope.
As the teams prepared for kick-off, a cameraman panned in on the Blues’ misfiring striker Torres. The lens remained focused on the Spaniard for quite some time, until the moment came for all non-game figures to leave the pitch.
As the cameraman left the pitch, he was berated by Mourinho—who confirmed his unhappiness after the game.
“I think the cameraman can do good, professional work without (doing that),” Mourinho said. “I cannot say the word (for what I think of it).
“I think it was unnecessary.”
Wenger Backed in Face of Poll Results
Opinion polls are no longer the exclusive domain of politicians. That much is clear, and Patrick Collins of the Mail proves the point with a look at the future of Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.
Collins has picked up on a poll by BSM. For those of you not in the know, BSM in this case stands for Black Scarf Movement. In the words of Collins, BSM are “an idiosyncratic fans’ group” that canvased 8,100 of their members on the future of Wenger.
On to the poll, and Wenger will have plenty of backing (68 percent) if they win the FA Cup and qualify for the Champions League.
The backing falls to 54 percent if the Gunners come up short on both counts. That, per Collins, would be a mistake as he makes it clear that the trigger-happy club owners need to back their managers.
In his piece, Collins wrote:
So there is no guarantee of success, no magic bullet. The decision to dismiss a manager is taken with eyes closed and fingers crossed, it owes as much to instinct and superstition as it does to intelligent calculation.
Wenger Rails Against Loan System
Arsenal face Everton on Sunday in a huge game between two Champions League-chasing sides, and Gunners boss Wenger goes into the match with a bone to pick with the loan system.
Everton can call on the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Gareth Barry—players on loan from Chelsea and Manchester City respectively. Both have had excellent seasons, but they have not been able to face their parent clubs due to Premier League rules.
Those rules are not fit for purpose, according to Wenger, who feels they need a complete overhaul.
The Mirror’s Dave Kidd has the quotes:
I believe that if you want to continue the system we have to make them available against the teams that loaned them out—or the system is not defensible.
It is just a protection of the clubs who loan the players out to hurt their opponents, when they have no risk at all.
For a while you could decide when you loaned a player out whether he could play against you or not and I always decided ‘yes, he can play against us’.
The system is the same for Chelsea, Arsenal and everybody else but the only question is ‘is the system right or not?’ It is open for debate.
Rodriguez Facing World Cup Heartache
Southampton striker Jay Rodriguez’s World Cup dreams are hanging in the balance.
The striker damaged his knee in the club’s loss to Manchester City on Saturday, and the indications are that the problem is serious enough to rule him out of the World Cup.
Saints will monitor the England forward over the coming days, but manager Mauricio Pochettino was downbeat when asked about Rodriguez’s situation.
The Mail’s Adam Crafton has the quotes:
To be honest, it's not looking good.
We need to assess him today and tomorrow, but it's a hard blow. It's not looking good for him, not good for the team.
I can't really know until he has had the tests and until we have analysed fully the injury. All the players are really affected, not just by the result, not just by the refereeing decisions but how severe the injury for Jay is.
Gareth Barry Facing Wage Cut
Gareth Barry may have to tighten his belt next season, as the Mail claim he will have to take a massive pay cut on his next contract.
Barry is currently on loan at Everton from Manchester City. As the Mail reports, City are paying half of the player’s £100,000 a week wages while he is at Goodison Park.
With his contract winding down, Barry will not have his parent club to subsidise his wage and the Mail suggests if he wants to remain at Everton he will have to accept a halving of his pay.
Giggs Heading for United Exit
Ryan Giggs could be on his way out of Manchester United in the summer, according to Steve Bates of the People.
The Old Trafford legend is currently on a player-coach contract at United, but there has been talk of friction between player and manager David Moyes.
Giggs recently played down talk of a rift, but Bates claims the 40-year-old may turn his back on the club in the summer.
In his piece, Bates wrote:
Friends close to the iconic Old Trafford star believe he may also sever all contact with the first team this summer by turning his back on a coaching role under new boss David Moyes.
It is believed Giggs thinks the environment at United post-Ferguson is not the right one for him to cut his teeth in coaching.
Liverpool in the Hunt for Markovic
Liverpool’s focus is on the Premier League title race, but they also have an eye on the transfer market.
The People’s Alan Nixon suggests Brendan Rodgers’ Reds are readying a bid for Benfica winger Lazar Markovic.
Any move will not be easy, according to Nixon, as he claims it could take £20 million to land a player who is also on Chelsea’s radar.
Markovic is not the only player on Rodgers' radar, as the Star's Paul Brown claims Young Boys striker Michael Frey could be the subject of a £5 million bid in the summer.
PSG Eye £50 Million Hazard
Hazard has been a huge success at Chelsea, with his consistent excellence catching the eye, and Richardson claims the Belgian is PSG’s top summer target.
Money would appear to be no object for PSG, as Richardson also claims the French champions will also go in for Real Madrid’s world footballer of the year Cristiano Ronaldo.
Bits and Pieces: Reds and Milan Want Richards, Lallana a Wanted Man and More
Manchester City defender Micah Richards could have a choice of Liverpool and AC Milan in the summer, per a report from the Mirror's Soriebah Kajue.
Liverpool have edged ahead of Manchester City and Monaco in the race for Real Madrid defender Fabio Coentrao, according to Tom Hopkinson of the People.
Southampton midfielder Adam Lallana could well be fielding approaches from Tottenham and Manchester United in the summer, according to Dean Jones and Steve Bates of the People.
Manchester City are the latest team to take a look at Bayer Leverkusen winger Julian Brandt but face competition from Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United—according to Alan Nixon of the People.
Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal are locked in a battle for Sevilla defender Alberto Moreno, according to the Star's Paul Hetherington.
Juventus have set their sights on Newcastle keeper Tim Krul to replace Gianluigi Buffon, according to the Express' John Richardson.