Paper Gossip: Van Gaal Ready to Wield the Axe, Chelsea Join Khedira Chase
Thursday's transfer stories predominantly react to Louis van Gaal's first day in charge at Manchester United—with widespread speculation he is ready to cull a number of players from his first-team squad.
Elsewhere, there is talk that Arsenal might soon have a rival in their attempts to sign Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira, while Spurs are prepared to go to great lengths in order to keep one of their most important players.
Read on for those stories and many more.
Louis Van Gaal Ready to Axe 10 Players from His Manchester United Squad
Louis van Gaal only arrived at Manchester United on Wednesday, but the Daily Mirror believes he is already prepared to cut as many as 10 players from his first-team squad.
Van Gaal arrived at the club's Carrington training centre for the first time on Wednesday afternoon, where he met staff and players. But it seems some of those players will not be around for much longer.
David McDonnell writes:
Louis van Gaal will show his ruthless streak now he has his feet under the table as Manchester United boss—with a major clear-out of the club’s dead wood.
As many as TEN players are facing the axe under the Dutchman, who is determined to overhaul the squad that fared so disastrously under sacked boss David Moyes last season.
The 62-year-old will be officially introduced by the Red Devils at an Old Trafford press conference on Thursday afternoon, but is understood to have wasted no time in outlining his intended rebuilding process.
Van Gaal intends to make as many as four more signings this summer, to add to new arrivals Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw, as well as stripping back his existing squad.
The players poised to be shown the door by Van Gaal include Ashley Young, Wilfried Zaha, Marouane Fellaini, Bebe, Anderson, Tom Cleverley, Nani and Nick Powell.
Arsenal Warned as Chelsea Ready to Sell Mikel to Finance Khedira Swoop
Chelsea are looking to sell John Obi Mikel in order to finance a move for Real Madrid midfielder (and Arsenal target) Sami Khedira, according to the Daily Express.
Arsenal have been credited with an interest in Khedira for a while now, but it appears they might be about to face competition from the Blues for the World Cup winner's services—with his former manager at Real Madrid, Jose Mourinho, believing he would be a perfect addition at Stamford Bridge.
Blues boss Jose Mourinho is keen on adding another midfielder to his squad before the start of the new Premier League campaign, and with a £60million move for Juventus' Paul Pogba starting to look unlikely, the Special One is keen to land £20million Khedira.
Chelsea have a number of players competing for places in the centre of the pitch, including former Gunners hero Cesc Fabregas, but one man who looks set to leave is Nigeria international Mikel.
The 27-year-old started in just 11 league games last season, and reports in Italy claim he has been offered to a number of Serie A teams including Inter Milan for around £10 million.
Spurs Ready to Up Offer in Order to Keep Jan Vertonghen
Vertonghen, the Belgium international, has been linked with a move away from the club for a long time now, and he only has two years left on his current contract. Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino is preparing to offer new terms in order to tie him to the club for longer.
Sami Mokbel writes:
Tottenham have turned their attentions to tying Jan Vertonghen to a new contract after safeguarding Hugo Lloris' future.
The defender still has two years to run on his current deal, but preliminary talks over an extension for the Belgium international have started.
Spurs want to avoid the prospect of Vertonghen going into the final year of his deal and have stepped up their attempts to sign him to fresh terms.
Spurs and Bayern Munich Battle over Griezmann
Tottenham are hoping to beat Bayern Munich to the signature of French winger Antoine Griezmann, according to The Times (subscription required).
Griezmann, who currently plays for Real Sociedad in Spain, has long been considered one of the most exciting attacking prospects in Europe—and did his transfer hopes no harm with a strong showing for France at the recent World Cup in Brazil.
He is not Spurs' only target, however, with the club also hoping to beat Liverpool to the signing of Swansea's Ben Davies.
Gary Jacob writes:
Tottenham Hotspur are vying with Bayern Munich for Antoine Griezmann and have increased their offer for Ben Davies to £10 million, above Liverpool’s bid for the Swansea City left back.
The north London club are looking for a left-sided winger and Griezmann has declared that he wants to leave Real Sociedad this summer. Known for his speed, he has a £24 million buyout clause and is scheduled to return to Spain a week on Monday after being given time off having played for France in the World Cup.
He scored 16 league goals last season and has been followed by Arsenal, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain.
Jacob also notes that Spurs and Liverpool have shown an interest in young PSV Eindhoven winger Zakaria Bakkali in recent times.
Bits and Pieces: Debuchy Deal Expected on Thursday, QPR Chase Vlaar
The Evening Standard expects Arsenal's deal to sign Newcastle full-back Mathieu Debuchy to be confirmed on Thursday.
Olympiakos are interested in signing Bryan Ruiz from Fulham, reckons the Daily Mail, despite the Costa Rican still having a year left on his contract.
The Daily Mirror is confident Swansea are close to the £4 million signing of Ecuadorian winger Jefferson Montero.
The Daily Telegraph reports that Stoke City expect to sign Liverpool winger Oussama Assaidi on a permanent deal in the next few days. The initial fee is believed to be in the region of £4.5 million.
Sunderland and Fulham are both chasing USA defender Matt Besler, according to the Mirror.
The Birmingham Mail reports QPR are keen on Aston Villa central defender Ron Vlaar, with a £4 million fee being mooted.