Premier League - Paper Round: Prem clubs could 'do a Rangers'
Eight Premier League sides are in danger of going into administration as HM Revenue and Customs widen their tax probe, according to Wednesday's papers.
The Sun reports that the tax authorities have launched investigations into the clubs, which like Rangers used Employment Benefit Trusts to pay foreign players. The money is paid tax free into an overseas account, resulting in the player saving 50 per cent tax - so long as they do not draw out the money until they leave the country at the end of their contract.
HMRC have now declared war on the tax dodge, however, opening the floodgates for a number of actions similar to that being carried out at Rangers.
"Rangers may be the tip of the iceberg," football finance expert Dr Chris Brady told the paper. "EBTs became popular with clubs as a means of reducing crippling wage bills. We believe at least eight current or former Premier League clubs are being investigated."
The Daily Record carries fresh allegations about Rangers owner Craig Whyte's behaviour, alleging that £9 million of income tax collected from employees' salaries via PAYE has been kept by the club. It is this, the paper reports, that prompted HMRC's court action on Tuesday to hurry Rangers into administration.
It's not often that the Daily Mirror and The Times go with the same back page headline, but both declare that Carlos Tevez is in the "doghouse" at Manchester City following his return to Eastlands.
The Argentine star claimed in a TV interview that Roberto Mancini treated him like a dog prior to his return, yet another moment of idiocy from the striker who was supposed to be mending his bridges. The Sun and the Daily Star claim that the player will be ordered to "grovel" if he is to get a place back in the squad.
The Times reports that Tevez's City team-mates are "stunned" at their colleague's comments, while the Mirror has decided that "fans don't want star at Eastlands". They won't be saying that if Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero both get injured, of course, but no doubt both club and supporters will happily cross that bridge if they come to it. After all, the only thing better than a story about a villain is a story about a villain who changes his ways and becomes a hero.
Several papers focus on the ongoing problems at Chelsea, with the Mirror and Telegraph reporting that Blues players have been texting former boss Jose Mourinho. The story derives from comments made by Andre Villas-Boas's former boss at Porto, club president Pinto Da Costa, who feels that the Chelsea players' relationship with their former boss has undermined AVB. He added that he thought the 34-year-old manager made the switch to the Premier League too early in his career.
In the day's transfer gossip, The Sun reports that Chelsea's Daniel Sturridge is considering leaving Stamford Bridge when his contract expires next year because "he will be distraught if Chelsea finish outside the top four... he wants Champions League football, not Europa League".
Chelsea are trying to tempt United youngster Paul Pogba into a move, despite Alex Ferguson's attempts to sign the 18-year-old to a new contract. (Daily Mirror)
Tottenham have agreed an odd deal to sign Brazilian 20-year-old Bruno Uvini, according to the Daily Mail. The player will join Spurs immediately on loan, despite the fact that he will not be eligible to play for the club, purely to help him acclimatise to English football on the training ground before he completes a £3.1m permanent switch in the summer.
And finally, while Thierry Henry's temporary return has been a breath of fresh air for Arsenal, another Gunners alumnus has decided to stick the boot in: Dennis Bergkamp. The Dutchman gives an interview in today's Telegraph which is simply headlined "Predictable, weak and no winning mentality", a perfect summation of his devastating critique of Arsenal at the moment. It's also an apt antidote to the Wenger bluster about "ruling Europe" that is on the back page of the Express. Ruling North London would be a better place to start, surely?