Gareth Bale in battle to force through £86m move to Real Madrid: The Bale will-he-won’t-he saga had just begun to settle down when the Real Madrid juggernaut cranked back into gear earlier this week. The Spanish giants have made their move, say the Observer, offering £86.3m (the equivalent of €100m) for the deal. Tottenham have turned it down flatly, and Bale, hitherto quiet on his future, is said to be ‘distraught’ by his club’s stance.
Paper Round’s view: The numbers might have changed ever so slightly, but this story bears eerie similarities to the €93m offer Marca reported in Spain yesterday. They were also first to carry reports of Bale’s desire to move, and they have set the agenda on this story from the beginning. If, however, the offer is genuine, even Daniel Levy will find it hard to turn down.
Bale move gets a ‘no’: The Daily Star on Sunday says no amount of money from Real Madrid will tempt Andre Villas-Boas or Daniel Levy to cash in on Bale, and that AVB sees Bale playing through the middle with potential new arrival Roberto Soldado. “If Bale is eventually sold, it would probably be next summer,” writes the paper. “Quite simply he has a job to do first for Spurs.”
Paper Round’s view: No doubting that AVB would rather be planning for life with Bale than without. But money has a tendency to do the talking.
Fabregas says ‘yes’ to Manchester United move: The Sunday Express report a secret meeting between United’s executive vice president Ed Woodward and Fabregas’ agent Darren Dein. Dein, who also had a decisive hand in the Robin van Persie deal last summer, has said that Fabregas is keen to go to Old Trafford. The only stumbling block is if new Barcelona manager Gerardo Martino blocks the move for fear of making his first act as boss the sale of a popular player. It is not out of the question that Fabregas would put in a transfer request to force the move through, but for now United are prepared to bide their time on the deal.
Paper Round’s view: This sounds like a big development, but isn’t once you break it down. Would United have pursued this move so publicly and aggressively if they hadn’t had some kind of tip-off he would be receptive to a move? And the Express’ report is couched in doubt over whether Barcelona are prepared to sell – so if they continue to say no, Fabregas’ yes or no is irrelevant. Unless he puts in a transfer request, which he definitely won’t do to his boyhood club.
Manchester United will sell Rooney… but only abroad: The Sunday Mirror suggest that Manchester United have softened their stance on the sale of Wayne Rooney but will not be offloading the striker to Chelsea or Arsenal. The concern that he could yet be rejuvenated at a rival club and come back to haunt the Red Devils is behind their thinking.
Paper Round’s view: United might well prefer to see Rooney ply his trade in some far-flung corner of the continent, but it’s unlikely to happen. Europe’s giants don’t seem to want him. Chelsea, with £30m burning a hole in Roman Abramovich’s pocket, clearly do. If Rooney is set on a switch to London, and there’s no interest from abroad, it still seems likely that’s where he will eventually end up.
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Arsenal prepare new bid for Suarez: The Observer suggests that Arsenal’s pursuit of Luis Suarez continues unabated as they seek to ‘capitalise on perceived tensions between the player and his employer’. Liverpool’s silence after holding talks with the player is believed to be a good sign to the Gunners that Suarez has given them no indication that he is keen to stay. That said, the Reds are unwilling to entertain an offer of less than £50m for their star player.
Paper Round’s view: The Observer don’t specify the size of the bid, but it’s clear enough that Suarez is Arsene Wenger’s big target this summer. Whether they would up their offer if they believe that the Uruguayan will do the work for them and force his way out of Anfield remains to be seen. For a club who have never spent more than £15m on a player, upping their £40m + £1 bid would be a shock.