Paper Gossip: Man Utd Take "Next Ronaldo" on Trial, Arsenal Nearly Signed Goetze
With the World Cup now firmly in the rearview mirror (sob) and the new domestic season still a number of weeks away, transfer speculation is beginning to move into top gear.
There appears to be good news for Louis van Gaal as he arrives at Carrington for his first official day as Manchester United manager, while there are also updates on Chelsea and Liverpool's transfer activity for the summer.
Elsewhere, there is a somewhat breathless report about Mario Goetze—with claims about the two Premier League clubs he almost joined back in 2011.
Read on for all Wednesday's new transfer stories and gossip.
Manchester United and Chelsea Boosted in Vidal and Pogba Pursuits
The Daily Star have taken Antonio Conte's resignation as Juventus boss as a good sign when it comes to Manchester United's pursuit of Arturo Vidal and Chelsea's interest in Paul Pogba.
Conte resigned on Tuesday, following a successful three-year spell at the club that saw them win the Serie A title three times.
Chisanga Malata writes:
Pogba's and Vidal's futures at the club are in major doubt following the resignation of Bianconeri boss Antonio Conte.
Conte's resignation could pave the way for Pogba and Vidal to leave Turin this summer.
Both have been linked with moves to the Premier League this summer following impressive performances at the World Cup.
While the article is short on any facts to back up the assertions, it seems the reporter believes either the absence of a manager at the helm will help the Premier League clubs in negotiations—or that Conte's departure, citing the difficulty in continuing to win trophies as a reason, is evidence alone that some of his star players will be sold this summer.
Liverpool Knocked Back in Attempt to Add Ben Davies
Liverpool will have to up their bid if they are to continue their summer transfer dealings by signing Swansea City full-back Ben Davies, according to the Daily Telegraph.
The Reds completed the signing of Benfica forward Lazar Markovic on Tuesday, but they will need to improve on an initial £8 million bid if they want to add Davies to their ranks. However, the paper fears even that might not be enough to convince Swansea to do business.
Chris Bascombe writes:
Liverpool took their summer spending beyond the £60 million mark on Tuesday with the capture of Lazar Markovic but had a bid for Swansea City left-back Ben Davies rejected.
While Markovic arrived at Anfield, an £8 million offer for Davies, 21, was turned down as Liverpool continue to rebuild with the proceeds of Luis Suarez’s sale to Barcelona.
Negotiations could prove tricky because Liverpool have upset Swansea by pursuing striker Wilfried Bony.
Manchester United Take "Next Cristiano Ronaldo" on Trial
Louis van Gaal's first official day as Manchester United boss has seen the club take a 15-year-old touted as the "next Cristiano Ronaldo" on trial at the club, according to Sky Sports.
Benfica teenager Joao Filipe, along with goalkeeper Joao Virginia, have been taken on trial at the club's Carrington training base, with a view to United making permanent bids for their services.
They will have to fight off interest from around Europe in order to achieve that, however.
Pete O'Rourke writes:
Sky Sports revealed earlier this month that a host of Premier League clubs, including United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea were all chasing Filipe and Virginia.
Winger Filipe, who has been labelled the "the next Cristiano Ronaldo", and goalkeeper Virginia are regarded as two of the best young talents to emerge in Portugal in recent years.
Barcelona have already seen one offer rejected for Filipe with Benfica desperately trying to tie down the two teenagers to long-term deals to secure their futures.
However, United appear to have stolen a march on their rivals by coming to an agreement with Benfica to take Filipe and Virginia on trial so that they can cast an eye over the pair at close quarters.
If the duo impress during their stint at Carrington they could be offered deals to move to Old Trafford on a permanent basis.
Germany Hero Mario Goetze "Nearly Joined Arsenal" in 2011
The Daily Express has "revealed" how Mario Goetze, Germany's World Cup winning forward, nearly signed for Arsenal (over Manchester United) three years ago.
According to the paper, at the time both Premier League clubs were keen to sign Goetze—who was rated as one of the finest prospects in European football. Neither club was able to agree a deal, but the Express believes Goetze's preference was to move to the Emirates.
Instead he stayed at Borussia Dortmund for another two seasons, before joining Bayern Munich last summer.
Anthony Chapman writes:
Sir Alex Ferguson was keen to land the talented midfielder, and sent numerous scouts to watch him ply his trade in the Bundesliga.
Arsene Wenger also planned to raid Jurgen Klopp's side for one of their most valuable assets, but a move to the Premier League never came about because Gotze was determined to play for Barcelona.
However, sources claim that the German would have preferred a switch to the Emirates over Old Trafford because he enjoyed the style of football encouraged by Wenger.
The source stated at the time: "He likes the way Arsenal play the game and for him there are only two clubs where he'd like to play once he moves from Dortmund - Arsenal or Barcelona."
Despite his desire to join the Catalan giants, Gotze eventually made the switch to Bayern where he picked up another Bundesliga medal under former Barca coach Pep Guardiola.
Bits and Pieces: Turkish Clubs Eye Toure and Ba, Stoke in Battle for Bojan
Trabzonspor are monitoring the availability of Liverpool defender Kolo Toure, according to Simon Jones of the Daily Mail.
Meanwhile, according to Darren Lewis of the Daily Mirror another Turkish club, Besiktas, are interested in taking Demba Ba on loan from Chelsea—with the option to buy him at the end of the season.
West Brom have turned a bid from Burnley for defender Craig Dawson, according to a report from the Birmingham Mail's Chris Lepkowski.
The Mirror's David Anderson also reckons Stoke are now battling Deportivo La Coruna for the loan signing of Barcelona's Bojan Krkic.
The Daily Star believe Swansea winger Pablo Hernandez is on the verge of a move to Middle East side Al Arabi.
The Daily Mail believe Newcastle United are close to wrapping up the signing of AS Monaco striker Emmanuel Riviere.
And finally, Manchester United winger Nani could be heading for AC Milan—if a Sky Sports Italia (h/t Football Italia) report is to be believed.