Paper Gossip: Blues Open Costa Talks, Arsenal in for Barry, Eto'o Move and More
The Premier League title is in the hands of Manchester City, which can only mean the focus is now shifting toward next season.
The view is that City are here to stay, but there are a host of clubs looking to knock them off their perch—Chelsea among them.
There is plenty of transfer speculation in the papers, while there's lots of comment on Roy Hodgson's World Cup squad.
All this and more features in Monday's edition of the Paper News and Gossip Roundup.
Chelsea Open Talks with Costa
Diego Costa sat out Atletico Madrid’s draw with Malaga on Sunday, but he was still in the news.
The Mail’s Neil Ashton has made the claim that the powerful forward has opened talks with Chelsea.
Mourinho has made no secret of his desire to bring in some fresh attacking talent, and Costa has long been linked with a move.
Ashton suggests that Chelsea want to move swiftly in the transfer market this summer, and Costa would appear to be his No. 1 target.
In his piece, Ashton wrote:
Sportsmail revealed in December that Costa had emerged as Jose Mourinho’s principle transfer target and Chelsea are determined to push it through.
Mourinho hinted after Chelsea’s final Premier League game of the season that he wanted their transfer business to be concluded swiftly.
Inter Leading the Race for Evra
A new manager at Manchester United is imminent, and it seems Louis van Gaal—if as expected he takes the job—will be met with a changing squad.
Nemanja Vidic has already agreed a deal to join Inter Milan, and Colin Harvey of the Star claims he could be followed to the Serie A club by his team-mate Patrice Evra.
Evra is out of contract in the summer, and Harvey claims Inter are in “pole position” to land the left-back on a free transfer.
Arsenal Mulling over Move for Barry
Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal are likely to be major players in the summer transfer window, and the chatter has started in earnest.
It has been widely reported that Wenger has a sizeable kitty at his disposal, but he is well known for his prudence, and he could well look at the bargain basement as well.
That would appear to be the case, as the Star’s Paul Hetherington suggests Wenger will make a move for Gareth Barry.
Barry is currently on loan at Everton and is likely to be available again with Manchester City seemingly deeming him surplus to requirements.
Everton are likely to make a play for Barry, following his successful stint at the club, but Hetherington feels they could face competition from Arsenal.
City Are in It for the Long Haul
Manchester City clinched their second league title in three years with a home win over West Ham United on Sunday.
The focus has already shifted toward next season, and what is likely to be another massive battle, and Jamie Redknapp is convinced City are here to stay.
City rivals Manchester United may have been the dominant force in the Premier League era, but Redknapp is certain Manuel Pellegrini’s side are now the big draw.
In his column in the Mail, Redknapp wrote:
After 38 games of a long, hard season, the best side always wins the title and Manchester City thoroughly deserve their success. Manuel Pellegrini has done a fantastic job in his first season in English football and he and City should be congratulated.
After the match I was talking to Graeme Souness and we agreed that if we were to have our careers again in the present day then we, and any current young player, would want to join City. That is the club where you want to be.
Man United have dominated English football for so long and though City might not have the history, they have the future.
Jones Must Prove Fitness or Miss World Cup
England boss Roy Hodgson will name his World Cup squad on Monday, and Phil Jones is a player on the periphery.
The Mirror’s John Cross believes Hodgson wants to take the Manchester United defender to Brazil, but a shoulder problem is causing concern.
Cross feels Hodgson will name Jones in his travelling party but will give him a fortnight to prove his fitness or face being axed.
Besiktas Line Up Eto'o Move
Turkish side Besiktas are readying a move for Samuel Eto’o when his contract at Chelsea expires.
Jose Mourinho confirmed following Chelsea’s final game of the season that Eto’o would be heading for pastures new.
But it would appear the forward’s fate was sealed some time ago. According to the Star’s Garry Doolan, Eto’o felt the full wrath of Mourinho, who took the Cameroonian to task at half-time of the 0-0 draw with Norwich.
Doolan suggests Eto’o will not be without a home for long, as he claims Besiktas have sent a delegation to London to open talks.
Barcelona Ready to Pounce for Courtois
The future of Thibaut Courtois is back in the spotlight, with the Star’s Paul Brown suggesting the keeper is angry with Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho.
Courtois is on loan at Atletico Madrid from Chelsea and still does not know where he will be playing his football next term.
Once again, he has had a fantastic season and was impressive against parent club Chelsea in the Champions League.
It is that Champions League semi-final that has left a bitter taste in Courtois’ mouth, according to Brown. The Star scribe claims the Belgian was unhappy with Mourinho’s treatment of him during the two legs.
Brown says Chelsea and Courtois have still to reach common ground, which could allow Barcelona to steal in as they want the keeper to replace Victor Valdes as their No. 1.
Newcastle Eye Double Villa Swoop
Newcastle United could make a double raid on Aston Villa for Fabian Delph and Andreas Weimann, according to the Star’s Gary Jones.
The Magpies endured a torrid second half of the season, with their poor performances highlighting a lack of depth to their squad.
Manager Alan Pardew has not signed a player on a permanent deal for well over a year, but he may be given money to spend in the summer.
Jones suggests the Newcastle boss will look to thrash out a deal for Delph and Weimann, which could cost the club £15 million.
Bits and Pieces: Mel Future Talks, Pardew Safe and More
West Bromwich Albion manager Pepe Mel will meet chairman Jeremy Peace and seek assurances about his future, per a report from Mark Staniforth of the Mail.
Alan Pardew seems set to keep his job at Newcastle United despite fan protests, according to the Mail's Craig Hope.
Gianfranco Zola, Malky Mackay and Neil Adams are among the names in the frame to take charge of Norwich City, according to the Mail’s David Kent.