Premier League - Paper Round: Pep to quit, Chelsea to pounce
Pep Guardiola will quit Barcelona today and is red-hot favourite to be Chelsea's new manager, according to Friday's papers.
The Barca coach is widely reported to be ready to quit after his much-lauded team saw their Liga and Champions League campaigns effectively ended within the space of four days.
But despite the late season wobble, the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mirror report that Roman Abramovich will ask Guardiola to "name his price" to take over at Stamford Bridge.
Guardiola is expected to announce his departure from the Camp Nou on Friday, though Blues fans should not get too excited: the rumours emanating from the reigning European champions suggest that the 41-year-old is burnt out and in need of a break from the game.
Abramovich, however, has an eloquent answer to such objections in the form of an almost unlimited bank balance, and with previously-rumoured top target Jose Mourinho seemingly determined to stay at Real Madrid to win the Champions League next season, the ducks could yet line up for Guardiola and Chelsea.
Speaking of high-profile foreign managers, the Daily Mail reports that Fabio Capello is looking for a new job back in club football - and the Italian is keen on managing in the Premier League.
Apparently the 65-year-old is so happy with his life in London that he doesn't want to leave, and that he'd only be tempted back to Italy by something "really tasty".
It's not just a new manager that Chelsea are looking for: the club are also ready to make a £35 million bid for Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain, according to The Sun. Real are apparently ready to sell because they are confident of signing Sergio Aguero from Manchester City in the summer.
The Times reports that Paris St Germain are preparing to swoop for Luka Modric as the Croatian stalls on a new deal with Tottenham. Spurs value the midfielder at around £40m, with the player eyeing the exit over his dissatisfaction at how the club's title challenge faded earlier this year.
Good news for Rangers fans is expected soon: the Daily Record reports that the club will be saved over the next few days by a joint bid from Brian Kennedy and Paul Murray, two of the leading rival bidders. All-day talks on Thursday apparently led to an agreement between the pair to hatch a deal that leaves Ticketus - the company whose deal with Craig Whyte was at the centre of Rangers' crumbling finances - completely sidelined.
Elsewhere, Bayern Munich and Marseille are among the clubs keen on signing Blackburn's Junior Hoilett if the Ewood Park club go down at the end of the season (Daily Mail) while Everton will sign Wigan's Mohamed Diame on a free transfer at the end of the season as the French-born Senegalese midfielder's contract is up (Daily Mirror).
And finally, the sad demise of Owen Hargreaves's career has taken a new twist as news emerges that Manchester City will not offer him a new deal. The Guardian reports that the 31-year-old, who has been ravaged by injury for nigh-on half a decade, is now expected to hang up his boots.