Wenger to bring in Real striker - Arsene Wenger is to solve Arsenal's attacking conundrum by bringing Alvaro Morata in on a six-month loan from Real Madrid, reports the Mail on Sunday. The highly-rated 21-year-old would work as a back-up for Olivier Giroud, with Wenger desperate not to rely on Nicklas Bendtner during the title run-in.
Paper Round's view - Promising as Morata may be, he would struggle to make an immediate impact in a new league and a new country. On all levels, Theo Walcott seems a more attractive option. What's more, these oft-touted loans between big clubs rarely come to fruition. So while it seems plausible in theory, Paper Round is filing this under 'unlikely'.
- - -
Tottenham want Long - Tottenham Hotspur have targeted Shane Long to bolster their attacking options in the second half of the season, The People claims. Although chairman Daniel Levy insists Spurs must sell before they buy, Long's £5m fee could be offset by selling Jermain Defoe to Toronto.
Paper Round's view - Long is no world-beater, but he would add depth and willingly play third fiddle to Roberto Soldado and the resurgent Emmanuel Adebayor. Would West Brom be willing to sell? Not before a new manager is appointed permanently, one imagines. And, despite the emergence of Saido Berahino, Albion are not exactly chock-full of top class attacking options.
- - -
City to move for Matic - Manchester City are considering a big-money move for Benfica midfielder Nemanja Matic. They are ready to shell out £20m plus the out-of-favour Javi Garcia, the Sun on Sunday reports. Matic, an ex-Chelsea player, is also wanted by his former employers and Manchester United - a January deal would allow City to beat their rivals to the punch.
Paper Round's view: While a swift move for Matic sounds appealing, he would carry a hefty mid-season price premium, and is cup-tied in the Champions League. What's more, central midfield is not exactly a priority for City, whose defensive issues need more urgent attention.
Read the full story (Paywall)
- - -
Cole to Real Madrid - Ashley Cole could be heading for a stunning move to Spanish giants Real Madrid, reports the Sunday Express. The England left-back has falled out of favour with Jose Mourinho at Chelsea and would favour a January move to cement his place in Roy Hodgson's England World Cup plans. The 33-year-old Cole's contract runs out in the summer.
Paper Round's view: It's not the first time Cole has been linked with Real Madrid, and he would make some sense as a stop-gap option for Real boss Carlo Ancelotti, who managed him at Chelsea. That said, Cole remains a high-quality player, and Mourinho will be under little pressure to let him go next month. More likely, he will leave on a free in the summer, when Chelsea can bring a long-term replacement in.
- - -
Baines '100% staying at Everton' - Roberto Martinez has guaranteed that Leighton Baines will not leave Goodison Park for Manchester United in January. The England left-back's contract expires at the end of next season, meaning Everton risk losing him for nothing in 2015, but Martinez insists he will not sell.
Paper Round's view: Patrice Evra's declining form would make Baines a welcome arrival at Old Trafford, but Everton have fought strongly to keep their man in several prior transfer windows and will doubtless do so again. With Martinez's side targeting the Champions League places, keeping hold of Baines looks like the only option, whatever the consequences down the line.