Paper Gossip: Lampard Deal Stalls, United Want Robben, Reds Eye Moreno and More
There’s still one game remaining in the top-flight season in England, a certain FA Cup final between Arsenal and Hull City.
But if you read the papers on Friday, you’d be forgiven for thinking everything is done and dusted.
While the World Cup is also on the horizon, the papers are awash with transfer speculation and we have the best of it all right here.
United Unrest over Van Gaal Delay
Manchester United have still not named their new manager, and that is causing unrest among some club legends—per a report from the Mail’s Ian Ladyman.
Louis van Gaal is hot favourite to take charge, but there is still no sign of an announcement being imminent.
Ladyman claims the delay is over the makeup of Van Gaal’s backroom staff, which the Mail scribe claims is causing concern for the likes of Ryan Giggs, who was in charge for the final four games of the season, and other club legends Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt.
Van Gaal Wants Robben at United
Van Gaal might not be in charge of United yet, but it appears as if he is working as though he is.
According to a report from the Guardian’s Jamie Jackson, Van Gaal has furnished Red Devils chief executive Ed Woodward with a list of transfer targets.
If the players on the list are targets, Van Gaal is certainly aiming to make a splash as Jackson suggests Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben and his team-mates Thomas Mueller and Toni Kroos are in his sights.
Lampard's Chelsea Contract Talks Break Down
Lampard is in the final weeks of his contract and can take advantage of his free-transfer status this summer.
There is a chance he could remain at Chelsea, with Ashton stating that manager Jose Mourinho wants him to stay on, but the Mail writer claims talks have broken down over the terms of the contract.
In his piece, Ashton claims Chelsea want Lampard to take a sizeable dip in wages from his current deal, which is in the region of £150,000 per week.
Chelsea Keep Close Tabs on Hazard Jnr.
Chelsea’s opponents could be faced with a double dose of Hazard trouble next season.
The younger Hazard is on loan from Chelsea at Zulte Waregem, and he has made a positive impression.
He was named Belgium Player of the Year for 2013, and Sheen suggests Mourinho wants to see if the youngster can translate that form to a bigger stage as he is considering taking him on Chelsea’s summer tour.
City Train Sights on Roma's Benatia
Simon Jones’ transfer column in the Mail is always worth a read, and he kicks off Friday’s iteration with talk of Manchester City making a raid on Roma for defender Mehdi Benatia.
City have been repeatedly linked with Porto defender Eliaquim Mangala, but Jones claims Roma’s Moroccan defender Benatia is now an alternative.
Benatia joined Roma from Udinese last summer for a fee of €13.5 million, which means he is unlikely to come cheap as Roma have no real need to sell.
Despite the issues with Financial Fair Play, money is not likely to prove a problem for City.
Liverpool Like the Look of Moreno
Liverpool’s search for a new left-back has seen them turn their attention to Sevilla’s Alberto Moreno, according to the Mail’s Simon Jones.
Defence has been a big issue for Liverpool this season, and manager Brendan Rodgers is seeking reinforcements to add competition and quality to his side.
Jones claims Moreno is on the Reds’ radar, but that Europa League champions Sevilla are likely to demand a fee in the region of £15 million.
Jones claims Hamburg teenager Jonathan Tah and Valencia midfielder Dani Parejo are also on Rodgers' radar.
Everton and Newcastle Target Spurs' Townsend
Everton and Newcastle United are ready for a summer scrap for Tottenham Hotspur winger Andros Townsend, per a report from the Mirror’s Darren Lewis.
Townsend appeared to have the world at his feet when starring for England last year, but his form dipped, and he will miss the World Cup on account of injury.
Lewis claims Townsend wants to fight on at Spurs, but he also suggests Tottenham’s commitment to keeping the winger will be tested by bids from Everton and Newcastle.
Keys in Hot Water over Ben Arfa Tweet
Newcastle United are headline news again, with the Mail’s Sami Mokbel suggesting the Magpies are contemplating taking legal action against commentator and pundit Richard Keys.
Keys, a former employee of Sky Sports who now works for BeIn Sports, incurred the wrath of Newcastle—per Mokbel’s piece—by writing a tweet which claimed Hatem Ben Arfa had “chinned” manager Alan Pardew.
The tweet, which Mokbel claims was written on May 3, is no longer visible but the Mail scribe claims Newcastle have made a complaint to the Premier League and Keys’ employers.
Chelsea Plan Lukaku Contract Talks
Chelsea are keen to offset the threat of losing Romelu Lukaku on the cheap by offering him a new deal.
The forward has spent the season on loan at Everton, and it is not clear what sort of role is planned for him by Chelsea.
But the Star’s Chris McKenna claims the Blues will sit down with the forward later in the summer to thrash out a deal, which will preserve his value.
According to McKenna, Chelsea feel they can secure a fee in the region of £30 million for Lukaku, provided he is tied to a long-term deal.
Bits and Pieces: Friedel New Deal, Mandzukic-Luiz Swap and More
Tottenham are ready to offer veteran keeper Brad Friedel a new deal, per a report from Simon Jones of the Mail.
In his column, Jones also makes the claim that West Brom are close to agreeing a deal with Craig Gardner.
Chelsea are keen on swapping David Luiz for Bayern Munich striker Mario Mandzukic and £15 million, according to the Mirror's Martin Lipton.
Anderlecht's Cheikhou Kouyate is back on Arsenal's radar, according to the Star's Colin Harvey.