‘Chelsea to sign former Liverpool star’ - Chelsea reportedly want to bring former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso back to the Premier League after the Spain international snubbed new contract talks at Real Madrid. Jose Mourinho’s former player is understood to be keen on being re-united with the Chelsea boss after the 32-year-old’s contract negotiations stalled once more.
Paper Round’s view: It is no secret that Mourinho is not happy with the midfield ranks at his disposal and the Chelsea boss would be delighted to pick up his former playmaker from Real Madrid. He does not fit the bill of the dynamic, powerful midfielder that he was previously believed to be targeting, but a player of his class would undoubtedly strengthen Chelsea. The best bet? Alonso is likely still hankering for an improved deal at the Spanish giants.
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‘Tottenham target Simeone as next manager’ – Tottenham’s top choice for their new manager is reportedly Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone. The Daily Star claim this as an exclusive despite the fact that it has been mentioned many, many times before in the papers. The ‘news’ that Simeone was – and still is – on the club’s radar will only crank up the pressure on Sherwood ahead of today’s clash with Stoke and next weekend’s FA Cup scrap against Arsenal, so say the paper.
Paper Round’s view: Spurs can target Simeone all they want, but there appears very little prospect of him wanting to swap La Liga title-chasing Atletico for the London club in any event. This story has been floating around in numerous papers for some weeks now and there is nothing new here that has not been suggested before. Spurs will likely have to look elsewhere if they wish to replace Tim Sherwood as head coach before his contract is up.
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‘Liverpool line up deal for Udinese star’ - Liverpool are reportedly chasing Udinese ace Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu as Brendan Rodgers draws up his list of January targets. Reds boss Rodgers is desperate to bring in a handful of new players in the new year, having recently bemoaned the club’s lack of depth. And while adding another full-back remains a clear priority, Liverpool are also in need of a natural defensive midfielder, and Ghanaian Agyemang-Badu is a new target. Liverpool have been informed of the player’s desire to play in the Premier League, and are now planning a £7m bid.
Paper Round’s view: The 23-year-old is a rising star in Serie A and it is understood that he has been personally recommended to Rodgers by his European scouts. Agyemang-Badu can play in both midfield and defence, meaning he would provide valuable cover as Rodgers’s men chase Champions League football, and his powerful and aggressive style of play would fit nicely with the club’s existing talent being largely small, tricky players. Arsenal and Spurs have also been linked to the Udinese star, but Liverpool looks his most likely destination.
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‘United to present Hull City with late Christmas gift’ - Manchester United are reportedly preparing to send 19-year-old playmaker Nick Powell to Hull City on loan after his success at Championship side Wigan. The youngster has impressed in the Championship after being farmed out to Wigan and now Old Trafford legend Steve Bruce wants him at the Tigers. Champions United could sell Powell to one if his admirers - with Swansea City keen to step in - but he is swaying towards a short-term switch instead.
Paper Round’s view: Well, this is no surprise, is it. Former United players who have turned managers repeatedly turn back to their former club to pick up fringe players and develop young talent and Bruce is perhaps the greediest of the bunch in this regard. Powell has excelled at Championship level and it would also certainly be in United’s interests to have their talented playmaker tested regularly in the top flight. Bruce will, however, have to change the status of one of his current loan players with Jake Livermore and Danny Graham already in his ranks.
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‘Stoke aim to sign former Chelsea defender’ - Stoke boss Mark Hughes reportedly wants to bring Michael Mancienne back to the Premier League - in a loan deal from Hamburg. Former Chelsea defender Mancienne is prepared to return to England after two years as his German club are looking to bring in new talent. Mancienne managed only five appearances for Chelsea in six years after emerging from their youth system and was loaned out to QPR twice and Wolves three times.
Paper Round’s view: This looks a likely move as Hughes aims to bolster his defensive ranks. The 25-year-old, who was an England U21s regular in his time with Chelsea, can play across the back four or as a defensive midfielder and would be a huge asset for the Potters as a utility man who is also a very fine athlete across the pitch. Hughes is working within a tight budget and also looking to buy a striker, but bringing in Mancienne on loan would seem to work out nicely for him.