‘Chelsea to spend £25m on former player’ - Chelsea are hopeful of pulling off an extraordinary deal to re-sign Nemanja Matic that could cost them ten times his valuation when he left Stamford Bridge three years ago, according to a report in the Times. Benfica have rejected an initial bid of £21 million for the Serbia midfield player and are demanding a fee closer to the £37 million buy-out clause that was inserted into a contract he signed last year, but the two clubs will continue to liaise this month. Matic joined Benfica as a makeweight in part of the £21 million deal that took David Luiz to Chelsea, with his own valuation as little as £3 million.
Paper Round’s view: If this latest report in the Times is to be believed then this would be a quite sensational deal given how Matic was discarded as a makeweight by the club previously. The 25-year-old made just two appearances for Chelsea after joining from Kosice, the Slovakian side, but is understood to be eager to return after maturing into an aggressive and physically imposing player. Chelsea’s potential move for Matic would likely be partially funded by the sale of Kevin de Bruyne, who is expected to complete his £16 million move to Wolfsburg.
‘Arsenal, United and Chelsea keen on defender’ - Manchester United are locked in a three-way battle for Spain's next superstar Saul Niguez, according to a report in the Daily Mirror. United coach Phil Neville jetted to Madrid on Saturday after the 2-0 win over Swansea to watch the Atletico Madrid midfield ace - currently on loan at Rayo Vallecano - in action on Sunday. Arsenal and Chelsea are also in the hunt for the 19-year-old, who has been a revelation in La Liga this season.
Paper Round’s view: United's interest in Saul is understood to have been given greater urgency by the knowledge Arsenal and Chelsea are also tracking the highly-rated youngster and there is no doubt that the club need fresh legs in that area of the field. Moyes has stepped up his transfer pursuits of late and must make three or four good signings if he is to successfully give his squad the shake up that is clearly required. United are also believed to be looking at Rayo defender Alex Galvez, the subject of a bid from Borussia Dortmund in the summer.
‘Who Moyes is after from Italy’ - With his defence leaking goals, David Moyes was keeping a keen eye on Cagliari centre-half Davide Astori on his recent scouting trip to Italy among other players, according to a report in the Daily Mail. United have been linked with Claudio Marchisio in the past, while former youth player Paul Pogba is also believed to be on Moyes’s wish list as he lines up moves for stars from Italy to freshen up his squad in January – or if not in this window, after the World Cup.
Paper Round’s view: Astori is the player that most expect Moyes to go for if given the green light. The Italian international has long been courted by many of Europe's finest, and has rejected several moves in the last few years. He turned down Spartak Moscow in 2012, while he allegedly rejected Southampton last summer. With Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic out of contract in the summer, and Chris Smalling struggling for form, it could be that United turn their attentions to the 27-year-old.
‘West Ham to swoop for City defender’ – The Hammers have agreed a deal to sign Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott, 31, on a £90,000-week loan deal, with an option for a three-year permanent move in the summer if the Upton Park club stay in the Premier League – that’s according to a report in the Guardian. They have also offered him £70k a week even if they do drop into the Championship, in what amounts to a quite remarkable deal.
Paper Round's view: If Lescott does leave then Pellegrini will have to consider signing a new central defender as he would have only Vincent Kompany, Matija Nastasic and Martín Demichelis for the position, with all three having respective recent injury concerns. There is no doubt that Lescott would considerably improve West Ham, but it appears very unlikely that Pellegrini will allow him to leave the Etihad in January without having a replacement lined up to step in straight away. He simply cannot afford to. A move over the summer seems much more likely.