Paper News and Gossip: United Meet Van Gaal, Chelsea's Courtois Anger and More
The title race is firmly in focus, with plenty of coverage of the big game between Liverpool and Manchester City.
Manchester United may be out of the title race, but they remain headline news. There's talk of players on the move and speculation about the club meeting with another manager.
As you would expect, there is plenty of transfer chatter doing the rounds.
All this and more feature in Saturday's edition of the Paper News and Gossip Roundup.
United Officials Meet with Van Gaal
David Moyes’ future is back in the spotlight, with the Mirror’s David McDonnell claiming Manchester United officials have met with Louis van Gaal.
United are facing up to a season out of the Champions League, with the team having struggled in Moyes’ first season at the helm.
Moyes has maintained his focus, and he spoke this week about spending money on revamping his squad in the summer.
But the Scot may not get the chance to spend, if McDonnell’s piece is to be believed.
In his piece, McDonnell wrote:
Mirror Sport understands United representatives—believed to include one of the Glazers—met with Holland coach Van Gaal at a secret location in Europe within the last 48 hours.
Reports from Holland last night claimed the meeting between Van Gaal and United had taken place, with the Dutchman sounded out about the prospect of succeeding Moyes at Old Trafford.
Van Gaal’s focus is currently on his job with the Dutch national side, with the World Cup a couple of months away.
City Ahead of Liverpool in Wages Race
Manchester City and Liverpool face off in a huge title clash on Sunday, but the former will go into the game well ahead in the wages stakes.
The Mail’s Craig Hope has got first look at a Sporting Intelligence survey, which reveals City pay their players more than any other club in the world.
The gap between Liverpool and City is tiny in the race for the title but between the players’ wages the gap is almost £2 million per player, per annum—according to Hope’s article.
City Axe Academy Coach Sellars
Changes are in the offing at Manchester City, with the Mail’s Sami Mokbel revealing the club have axed academy coach Scott Sellars.
Sellars was handed his role by Brian Marwood, but Mokbel claims there has been a difference of opinion with current sporting director Txiki Begiristain, which has resulted in his departure.
There has been no word from the club on Sellars’ departure, but Mokbel’s piece suggests the club are worried about the lack of homegrown players coming through their system.
West Ham Check on Arsenal Target Drmic
Arsenal could face competition from West Ham United for striker Josip Drmic.
The Switzerland international has been on Arsenal’s radar, but the Mail’s John Drayton claims West Ham are now keen.
Such is West Ham’s interest, according to Drayton, that Hammers boss Sam Allardyce will make a personal check on the player in Nurnberg’s game with Wolfsburg on Saturday.
Chelsea Seething over Courtois Clause Issue
The cat is out of the bag with regard to the Thibaut Courtois contract clause, and Chelsea are not happy—according to Martin Lipton of the Mirror.
It emerged earlier this week that Courtois has a clause in his contract that states Atletico Madrid must pay Chelsea a fee if they want to field the player in any match between the two sides.
They were drawn against each other in the semi-finals of the Champions League. UEFA stepped up to the plate by issuing a statement which made it clear that Chelsea could not bar the player from playing.
It’s not yet clear how things will play out, but Lipton has suggested that the Blues are “seething” that the issue was made public and by UEFA’s stance.
In his piece, Lipton wrote:
The ruling, which also warned Chelsea they faced being “sanctioned accordingly” if they sought to hold Atletico to the agreement, left the Blues privately spewing at the Spanish outfit.
Behind the scenes, though, Chelsea believe Atletico President Enrique Cerezo has manipulated the situation and is reneging on an agreement he happily entered into to ensure Courtois remained at the club for a third season.
Dalglish Focused on Justice for Hillsborough 96
The huge clash between Liverpool and Manchester City on Sunday will be the final game the Reds play before the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy.
Former Reds boss Kenny Dalglish has put the issue firmly in focus in his column in the Mirror, with justice for the 96 the message.
In his piece Dalglish wrote:
It has been a wonderful season for Liverpool and tomorrow the club faces its most important match so far against Manchester City.
It is important for the club and its ambitions that we get a result, but there is one result that we want more than any other.
It is the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy next week, a quarter of a century since 96 of our fans lost their lives in that terrible crush.
And the best result anyone at the football club could possibly have is for the families of the dead to get what they have been craving for so long: Justice.
Football in England will pay respect to those who died with all games kicking off seven minutes after their scheduled time. The FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest in 1989 was abandoned at 3:06 p.m.
Happy Lukaku Could Stay at Everton
Roberto Martinez has not given up hope of keeping striker Romelu Lukaku at the club.
Lukaku is on a season-long loan at Chelsea, and Martinez has made it clear that the forward is extremely happy at Goodison Park.
The Mirror’s David Madock has the quotes:
He’s a grounded and intelligent young man, who is not going to be swayed by the materialistic aspect of the game.
What can we offer him? Just enjoying his football.
As a player, happiness is something that is very important. When you can offer football happiness it’s an incredible opportunity.
Bits and Pieces: Atleti Eye Hernandez, Bardsley Set for Exit and More
Phil Bardsley and Jack Colback will not have their contracts renewed by Sunderland and will leave the club in the summer, according to David Coverdale of the Sun (subscription required).
Louis van Gaal will make a move for Ajax defender Joel Veltman if he takes charge of Tottenham this summer, per a report from the Mirror's Darren Lewis.
Atletico Madrid have set their sights on Manchester United forward Javier Hernandez, per a report in Metro.