Premier League - Paper Round: City plot Rooney swoop
As if today's Manchester derby needed any more spice to it, the Sunday Mirror have claimed City are to bid £60 million for Wayne Rooney.
Rooney and United issued a joint statement earlier in the week in a bid to dampen speculation the player's relationship with manager Sir Alex Ferguson was damaged beyond repair.
But the paper "understands that tensions continue to simmer between the two biggest personalities at Old Trafford".
And if peace at Old Trafford fails to hold, City boss Roberto Mancini will ask his club's owners to sanction a stunning £60m raid for the England striker.
Of course, as the Mail on Sunday points out, Rooney is not currently for sale, but the paper maintains that his relationship with the club's owners could yet lead to his exit from Old Trafford.
Rooney, it is claimed, remains unconvinced that the Glazer family are willing to spend large sums of money on world class players - a policy he believes is required to keep United in contention to win the biggest trophies on offer.
With that in mind, the same paper - which also runs a story that featured in yesterday's Sun about Paul Scholes coming out of retirement to ease United's injury crisis - suggests Tottenham's Luka Modric could be key in keeping Rooney in the red half of Manchester.
Apparently, the Croatian maestro, who will cost up to £50m, has become Ferguson's priority in the summer with his signing expected to convince Rooney to stay put.
The Bolton defender has agreed an £8m move to Stamford Bridge, but the deal has hit a snag over his wage demands - reportedly in the region of £120,000 a week.
United, along with Chelsea, have also been linked with a move for Newcastle midfielder Cheick Tiote. The Sunday Times has United on the verge of bidding £20m - but the Sunday Mirror reports that both could be gazumped by, yes, you've guessed it, Manchester City.
The Premier League leaders are lining up a bid in excess of £25m for the Ivory Coast star, who will be watched on African Cup of Nations duty by City scouts.
Arsene Wenger will, however, go back in for the Germany international in the summer. (Mail on Sunday)
Across London to Chelsea, where the Blues are willing to honour the remaining 18 months of Frank Lampard’s contract – but won’t stand in his way if he wants to quit Stamford Bridge before then.
The Sunday Mirror claims the England midfielder is becoming increasingly frustrated at a bench role this season and may be forced to look elsewhere for regular first-team football.
And finally, Blackburn Rovers defender Chris Samba is set to hand in a transfer request after QPR had a bid for his services rejected. (Sunday Mirror)