Paper Gossip: United's Giggs Problem, Reds Eye New Ballack, Sagna Exit and More
Manchester United are well down the Premier League table, but they are still headline news.
Ryan Giggs is in charge, but for how long? The papers believe Louis van Gaal will soon be taking charge.
Liverpool crashed to defeat to Chelsea on Sunday, which blew the title race wide open.
There's plenty of reaction to the game, along with a fair amount of transfer speculation.
All this and more feature in Monday's iteration of the Paper News and Gossip Roundup.
United Have a Monster Problem in Giggs
Ryan Giggs kicked off his spell in charge of Manchester United with a resounding win over Norwich City, and Martin Samuel of the Mail claims the club could well have created a major problem.
Giggs walked out of the Old Trafford tunnel in his blazer and tie to a huge ovation, and his team provided the result everyone connected with the club craved.
Giggs has three more extremely winnable games remaining between now and the end of the season.
Three wins would certainly hand ammunition to those who want Giggs to take the job permanently.
Strong rumours are linking Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal with the job. Samuel is aware of this, and he feels that by appointing Giggs on a temporary basis the club have a potential problem on their hands.
In his piece, Samuel wrote:
Ryan Giggs is exactly what Manchester United need, for now. A healing, unifying figure, steeped in the recent history of the club, surrounded by his friends, to a man Old Trafford legends. Yet what lies beyond?
David Moyes had not won a trophy, we were told. He had not competed in the Champions League, never managed a team through a title race. Neither has Giggs. He hasn’t won against Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea or Arsenal yet. He hasn’t even won an away match in the Premier League.
And Giggs is lucky with Manchester United’s remaining fixtures, too. They could have been hand-picked, such is their relative ease.
Giggs could win all four, by which time the clamour to give him the job would be overwhelming. United may have created a monster here. If they are intent on appointing Louis van Gaal or Carlo Ancelotti, why allow for such an emotionally charged climax to the season?
Van Gaal Close to United Deal
Despite Giggs making a winning start to life at Old Trafford, his spell in charge could be brief.
Van Gaal continues to be strongly linked with the job, and the Mirror’s David McDonnell claims a deal could be done this week.
In his piece, McDonnell claims Van Gaal wants a swift resolution to enable him to then turn his focus to masterminding Netherlands’ World Cup challenge.
According to McDonnell, Van Gaal is ready to put his name to a three-year deal worth £25 million.
Fans Clash Following Chelsea's Win at Liverpool
Chelsea’s win over Liverpool blew the title race wide open, but it was not the only talking point as the Mail’s John Drayton has revealed supporters clashed following the game.
According to Drayton, Liverpool fans took exception to chants from Chelsea supporters about Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard.
It was Gerrard’s slip that allowed Chelsea to score the opening goal in the 2-0 win.
Drayton’s piece shows images of supporters clashing, with police stepping in to keep the two parties apart.
Gerrard Not to Blame for Reds Loss
Gerrard’s slip in Liverpool’s loss to Chelsea was extremely costly.
The captain is still in credit, given the brilliance he has shown for the Reds down the years.
That is certainly the view of Reds boss Rodgers. The Mail’s Dominic King has the quotes from Rodgers, who said: "I said at half-time this is a boy who has picked up this club so many times and just really unfortunate that he slipped at a crucial moment just on half-time."
Fener Readying 6-Figure Deal for Sagna
Bacary Sagna’s future has been thrust back into the spotlight, with the Mail’s David Kent claiming Turkish side Fenerbahce are ready to offer him a six-figure deal.
Sagna is in the final year of his Arsenal contract and as Kent states, the defender has been in talks over a new deal for some time.
No common ground has been found, and Kent claims Fener are ready to put a £100,000-a-week deal in front of the French full-back.
Lille in Joe Cole Link
Joe Cole appears resigned to heading out of the West Ham United exit door, and the Mail’s Simon Jones suggests the midfielder could be on his way to France.
Cole is in the final few weeks of his Hammers contract and believes he does not figure in manager Sam Allardyce’s plans.
Jones suggests Lille are keeping tabs on Cole’s situation, and there are connections as the player spent the 2011/12 season with the French club.
Liverpool Enter Lacazette Chase
Liverpool have joined the hunt for Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette, per a report from the Mail’s John Drayton.
Drayton claims the forward has been watched by the likes of Arsenal and Newcastle United, but that Liverpool are now in the hunt.
It could be a long-term chase, as Drayton claims Lyon have made it clear that the forward will spend at least one more season with the club.
£26K for Liverpool-Newcastle Tickets
Liverpool remain top of the table despite their defeat to Chelsea, and they could still clinch the title at home to Newcastle on the final day of the season.
That game is a sellout, and is sure to be a memorable occasion win or lose.
With it being a sellout, is it an event that not even money can buy you access to?
No, according to the Mirror’s John Siddle.
Citing a report in the Liverpool Echo, Siddle claims a pair of tickets have been offered to touts for £26,000.
Liverpool Want the New Michael Ballack
Liverpool are in the hunt for the new Michael Ballack, per a report from the Star’s Paul Hetherington.
In his piece, which he tags exclusive, Hetherington claims Reds boss Brendan Rodgers is on the trail of Bayer Leverkusen's Emre Can.
Despite Rodgers’ focus being on their title challenge, Hetherington claims the Reds boss is already looking towards next term.
Hetherington suggests Can’s game is similar to Germany great Ballack, who won major honours with Kaiserslautern, Bayern Munich and Chelsea.
Rio Ferdinand Wants Manchester United Stay
Rio Ferdinand is not planning on retiring this summer, but he is not sure where he will be playing next season.
The veteran defender wants to remain at Manchester United, but he is not sure as to whether he will be offered a new deal.
Should Ferdinand leave Old Trafford, he is not likely to be short of options. The Guardian’s Jamie Jackson suggests Galatasaray, Besiktas, LA Galaxy and Al Gharafa are on his tail.
Bits and Pieces: Ben Arfa Blow, United Eye Kolasinac and More
Stoke City want to turn Oussama Assaidi's loan move from Liverpool into a permanent arrangement, per a report from the Express' Anthony Chapman.
Hatem Ben Arfa's problems at Newcastle continue, with a piece from the Mail's David Kent saying the forward will not travel with the squad for Monday's trip to Arsenal. Kent references a quote from Ben Arfa's Instagram account confirming his absence. The quote was later deleted.
Roberto Martinez is setting his sights on adding six or seven new players to his Everton squad, per a report from the Mail's Martha Kelner.
Newcastle are plotting a summer bid for Swansea’s Jonjo Shelvey, per a report from the Mirror’s Simon Bird.
Manchester United are closing in on Schalke's Sead Kolasinac, again according to the Express' Chapman.