Paper News and Gossip: Rooney World Cup Switch, Chelsea Close in on Diego Costa
Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney hogs the back-page headlines on Wednesday as his position ahead of the World Cup comes under scrutiny.
England manager Roy Hodgson is set to play the forward in a wide position in the warm-up game against Ecuador, leading some papers to speculate on his role in Brazil.
Elsewhere, Chelsea are closing in on the signing of Diego Costa from Atletico Madrid, while Eden Hazard continues to be linked with Paris Saint-Germain.
But who else is making the headlines on Wednesday? Read on to find out more.
Wayne Rooney's England World Cup Role Questioned After Wing Switch
Wayne Rooney's role at the World Cup has been placed under the microscope after England manager Roy Hodgson revealed the striker would play in a wide role against Ecuador on Wednesday, reports John Cross of the Daily Mirror.
The Manchester United forward failed to shine in the friendly win over Peru on Friday, and he will now be given a wider role for the warm-up match in Miami.
But Hodgson wants Rooney to rediscover form and fitness in an unfamiliar role with England.
Hodgson is quoted as saying:
The thinking behind Wayne starting a second game is he only played 60 minutes the other day. He didn’t play too many games (in the final weeks of the season) before he joined us.
We think he’s recovering his match fitness and we think starting the game and playing a part will be to his advantage.
Wayne can play in several positions, and he’ll play in a position which we think will suit the team and which he’s capable of playing.
We’ve seen him play centre-forward, behind the centre-forward and wide. If he’s done all of those things at the very top level for Manchester United, there’s no reason why I can’t use him in those positions as well.
Martin Lipton of the Daily Mirror believes the decision sounds like an indication that Hodgson could drop Rooney for the World Cup opener against Italy.
Chelsea Near Diego Costa Deal, as Eden Hazard Remains Linked with PSG
Chelsea could confirm the signing of Diego Costa from Atletico Madrid before the end of the week, reports John Cross of the Daily Mirror.
The forward has returned to training with the Spain team ahead of the World Cup, which will help smooth his medical before the move to Stamford Bridge for £35 million, claims the article.
Meanwhile, Paris Saint-Germain are preparing a £61 million move for Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard, reports Simon Jones of the Daily Mail.
But the same article notes that the Blues have confirmed that the Belgium international will wear the No. 10 shirt next season to help counter the interest of the French champions.
Jones also claims PSG are interested in Branislav Ivanovic, Petr Cech and Oscar following the capture of David Luiz.
Southampton Want Manchester United Striker Hernandez as Part of Shaw Deal
Southampton are looking to add Javier Hernandez as part of the deal to take Luke Shaw to Manchester United, reports Chris Richards of the Daily Mirror.
The article claims that the Mexico international is also wanted by Inter Milan and Valencia, but the Saints are looking for additions up front after the departure of Rickie Lambert to Liverpool and the expected exit of Dani Osvaldo this summer.
Meanwhile, incoming United manger Louis van Gaal has credited his Old Trafford predecessor David Moyes for his handling of Robin van Persie's injury this season, reports Darren Lewis of the Daily Mirror.
Arsenal Target Goalkeepers David Ospina, Stephane Ruffier
Arsenal are weighing up a transfer move for Nice goalkeeper David Ospina, reports Alan Nixon of the Daily Mirror.
But the article claims any move by the Gunners could be dependent on Ospina's form with Colombia at the World Cup.
However, Rhys Turrell of the Daily Star claims that Arsenal are in pole position to sign Stephane Ruffier from St Etienne.
Arsenal are also preparing a £3.25 million move to bring Carlos Vela back to the Emirates Stadium, according to The Sun (subscription required).
Michael Ballack Voices Germany World Cup Concern over Arsenal Star Mesut Ozil
Former Germany international Michael Ballack has voiced concern for Mesut Ozil ahead of the World Cup, reports Mike Walters of the Daily Mirror.
The Arsenal midfielder was jeered by some fans as he was substituted during the friendly draw with Cameroon at the weekend after an inconsistent season with the Gunners following his £42.5 million switch from Real Madrid.
Ballack is quoted as saying:
It’s difficult to say where his head is going to be at the World Cup. I saw him play for the national team at the weekend and I was not surprised, not scared, but a little bit concerned, by his performances actually.
He has done well for Germany, and he played well during the qualifying campaign, but in the last few months, since his move to Arsenal, he has not been the same player, in terms of his confidence, that we used to see in the national team.
I don’t know whether the Arsenal move has affected him because he was untouchable and in Germany we still expect him to be one of our best players. But he is not a leader on the pitch, like a captain.
He is a fantastic player who still has to find his role and his responsibility for the team, and when he was criticised for his performances, he looked surprised, he looked lost.
People expect so much of him, but he can improve his body language massively because he is now at an age where he is no longer a young talent or a promising player.
As one of our best players he has to take more responsibility, and we expect more from him at the moment. Hopefully, when the World Cup starts, we will see a different player.
Everton Poised to Sign Gareth Barry in Permanent £11M Deal
Everton are set to sign Gareth Barry on a permanent deal in a move worth £11 million, reports Andrew Dillon of The Sun (subscription required).
The midfielder played a leading role in the Goodison Park club's fifth-placed finish in the Premier League last season on loan from Manchester City.
And now the England international is set to land a three-year deal worth £60,000 per week, while Everton also paid a £2 million fee as part of the loan arrangement with the Etihad Stadium club.
Barcelona Weigh Up £56M Move for Manchester City Striker Sergio Aguero
Barcelona are considering a £56 million move for Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero, reports Nick Lustig of the Daily Star.
According to the article, Aguero's father has said that the forward is keen on a move to the Camp Nou, while Luis Enrique has made the Argentina international his No. 1 transfer target this summer.
Lustig also claims that the expected transfer fees for Cesc Fabregas and Alexis Sanchez could help fund the move for Aguero.
However, the report also notes that City have given no encouragement in any move for the striker.
Cesc Fabregas 'Open' to Chelsea Move Despite Arsenal Attachment
Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas is open to the idea of joining Chelsea this summer, reports Matt Hughes of The Times (subscription required).
According to the article, the former Arsenal star has previously admitted to breaking down in tears after leaving the Gunners.
But while there has been no contact with Chelsea, claims Hughes, the Spain international would consider Stamford Bridge as his next destination.
Former Chelsea Star Frank Lampard Won't Quit England
The England international's time with the Three Lions is coming to an end at the age of 35, but he has no intention of stepping down just yet.
Lampard is quoted as saying:
I’ve had some of my most enjoyable England years in the back end, in the last two years. I’ve enjoyed and appreciated what I’ve got.
When you’re young, you don’t always appreciate being in the squad, the ambience around the squad.
That’s why I won’t write myself off yet.