Paper Gossip: Man Utd Close in on Blind and Hummels, Man City Approach Drogba

Alex Dimond@alexdimondUK Lead WriterJuly 22, 2014

Paper Gossip: Man Utd Close in on Blind and Hummels, Man City Approach Drogba

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    Jon Super/Associated Press

    Tuesday's transfer gossip has a distinctly Manchester United flavour, after news emerged that executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has left the club's current United States tour for business reasons.

    For many newspapers that means Woodward is off concluding transfer deals, although different outlets disagree about which targets are actually being signed.

    Elsewhere, meanwhile, it appears Manchester City will attempt a rather audacious bid to stop Didier Drogba from making his expected return to Chelsea, after an injury to Alvaro Negredo forced the club into the market for a striker. However, one team who will not be signing a striker this summer is Arsenal—leaving Mario Balotelli's future somewhat uncertain.

    For those stories, and many more, read on.

Manchester City in Surprise Bid to Lure Drogba from Chelsea Return

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    Michael Steele/Getty Images

    Manchester City will attempt to hijack Chelsea's bid for striker Didier Drogba, according to a report in the Daily Star.

    City learned on Monday that striker Alvaro Negredo will miss the start of the new season after breaking a bone in his foot, a setback that leaves manager Manuel Pellegrini short of attacking options.

    Drogba, 36, had been close to agreeing a romantic return to the club he spent eight years at from 2004 to 2012 but now Pellegrini will try and persuade the Ivorian to come to Manchester instead.

    Jeremy Cross writes:

    It is understood Pellegrini could turn to veteran star Drogba as he looks to lure a top class goalscorer to the Etihad Stadium.

    Former Chelsea star Drogba is considering a return to Stamford Bridge after leaving Galatasaray at the end of last season.

    He is understood to have a number of options on the table and will make a decision on his future this week.

    But Pellegrini believes the 36-year-old could be a viable option on a 12-month contract to improve his striking options now Negredo is sidelined.

    Drogba is hero-worshipped at the Blues, but the chance to land a lucrative short-term deal with the reigning champions could tempt the Ivory Coast hitman to go to Manchester instead of his old hunting ground.

Daley Blind Emerges as Manchester United's Top Transfer Target

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    Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

    Daley Blind has emerged as Manchester United's top summer target, with the Daily Express reporting that Louis van Gaal hopes to complete a £17 million deal for his Dutch international charge.

    Blind was one of the most impressive performers at the recent World Cup in Brazil, proving his class in Van Gaal's varying tactical setups. That flexibility, along with that quality, could be very useful at Old Trafford—with the Express using Ed Woodward's recent departure from United's United States tour as a sign he is about to wrap up some transfer dealings.

    Jamie Anderson writes:

    According to Italian sources, Louis Van Gaal is ready to step up his interest in the versatile 24-year-old, and make Blind his third significant signing of the summer.

    In light of the breaking news, it is no wonder that Manchester United chief executive Ed Woodward has left the tour of America to supervise transfer proceedings.

    The Red Devils have frequently been linked with Dutch internationals, Memphis Depay and Arjen Robben to name a few - however it is Blind who is now most likely to arrive at Old Trafford.

Manchester United Increasingly Confident of Mats Hummels Deal

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    Martin Meissner/Associated Press

    Ed Woodward's movements could be for another reason, according to the Daily Mail—which suggests that Manchester United are actually about to conclude a deal for Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels in the next few days.

    Hummels, who helped Germany win the World Cup this summer, is believed to be nearing a £16 million switch to Old Trafford, despite recent reported interest from Barcelona.

    Final negotiations are still ongoing, however, which is why Woodward may have flown out to put the finishing touches to the agreement.

    Sean Gallagher writes:

    Woodward left the club's tour last summer because of what was described at the time as 'urgent transfer business'.

    But this time, United insist Woodward's departure from the four-match tour is due to 'general business reasons' and is not due to a specific imminent transfer.

    With both Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand departing the club this summer, United are in desperate need of some experience at the back and despite being just 25, Hummels will provide just that after playing at the highest level domestically and internationally for many years.

    Unless a late twist puts the deal into jeopardy, Hummels will join the likes of Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera at Old Trafford, as Van Gaal looks to build a side capable of challenging for major honours.

PSG and Real Madrid Conspire to Secure Angel Di Maria Loan Deal

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    Victor R. Caivano/Associated Press

    One player Manchester United might be unable to sign is Real Madrid's Angel di Maria, at least if the Daily Express is to be believed.

    The paper reports that Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain have come to an agreement that will send the Argentine to France, despite financial fair play rules making it difficult for the French club to pay a transfer fee for Di Maria this summer.

    Instead, the two clubs are close to a temporary arrangement that suits all parties.

    Jamie Anderson writes:

    The Parisian side have already fended-off interest from the 13 time Premier League champions [Manchester United], and will now be forced to overcome Fifa's stringent financial rules.

    Laurent Blanc's side were hit with a £20m fine for breaching sanctions last season, and face a more severe punishment if they overstep the mark again.

    The £50m signing of David Luiz from Chelsea has already consumed most of PSG's allowance, and a further £40m for Di Maria would surely leave the French Champions vulnerable to a fine.

    With this in mind, PSG chiefs have proposed a one-year loan deal with a view to permanently signing the Argentine.

    This not only allows Blanc to capture his man, but would satisfy Di Maria's desire to continue playing in Europe's premier competition, and allow Real Madrid to land Colombian star James Rodriguez.

    And leave Manchester United on the outside looking in.

Bits and Pieces: No Balotelli to Arsenal, Malouda Joining Drogba in Prem Return?

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    Claudio Villa/Getty Images

    The Daily Star's Chisanga Malata reports that Arsene Wenger has said he will not sign a striker this summer—seemingly ending Arsenal's pursuit of Mario Balotelli.

    Gary Jacob of The Times (subscription required) believes Spurs are about to step up their interest in £25 million winger Antoine Griezmann, although PSV's Memphis Depay has been identified as a potential alternative.

    Manchester City are looking to sell Javi Garcia in order to recoup some money and streamline their playing squad, reports David Anderson of the Daily Mirror.

    Reported Chelsea target Tiago has signed a new two-year contract with Atletico Madrid, says talkSPORT.

    The Daily Mirror's Darren Lewis believes former Chelsea winger Florent Malouda is on Leicester City's radar.

    Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United are all monitoring West Ham teenager Reece Oxford, according to Gary Jones of the Daily Star.