Premier League - Paper Round: Atletico plot Coutinho move

Atletico Madrid eye Philippe Coutinho; Arsenal eye £20m bid for Lars Bender and Shinji Kagawa could leave Manchester United, say Sunday's papers.

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Premier League - Paper Round: Atletico plot Coutinho move
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Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho celebrates after scoring against Thailand's National Team during their friendly soccer match at Ratchamangkala Stadium in Bangkok, July 28, 2013 (Reuters)

Liverpool face Philippe Coutinho transfer raid by Atletico Madrid: Atletico Madrid will revive their interest in Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho if they can qualify for the Champions League’s knockout stages, according to the Sunday People. The Spaniards made tentative enquiries about the Brazil midfielder in the summer, but their interest was quickly rebuffed by the Anfield giants. However, that will not stop them returning with an offer when the transfer window reopens in the new year if they find themselves in need of a new playmaker.

Paper Round's view: Coutinho has been a big hit at Liverpool and it understandable that other clubs are starting to sniff around. However, the way Liverpool hung onto Luis Suarez shows they are not keen on selling their top players. Coutinho has made no indication that he is unhappy or would like to leave so it is hard to see him going any time soon but if Liverpool continually fail to qualify for the Champions League then they run the risk of disillusioning their top stars.

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Arsenal ready £20m bid for Lars Bender: Arsenal have made Bayer Leverkusen’s Lars Bender a major January transfer target, according to the Daily Star. The Gunners have already had one bid of £18.5million rejected by the German club but manager Arsene Wenger refuses to give up. The £20m-rated box-to-box midfield player is being lined up as a future replacement for Mikel Arteta. Bender comes with the recommendation of Arsenal’s latest German Mesut Ozil, who is already having a big influence on their current crop of youngsters.

Paper Round's view: The arrival of Ozil and the promising start to the season has made everybody at the Emirates quite bullish. With quite a German influence already at the club it would be easy to see the move as an attractive one for Bender and, come January, Leverkusen might be out of the Champions League making a deal potentially easier to push through. You could question whether Bender is the type of player Arsenal need but the club seems to have regained some confidence in the transfer market so a deal can't be ruled out.

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Kagawa faces uncertain future: Shinji Kagawa’s future at Manchester United looks uncertain after he was replaced at half-time against West Brom, reports the Daily Mail. Sir Alex Ferguson signed Kagawa from Borussia Dortmund a year ago, possibly as a long-term replacement for Wayne Rooney. But Moyes has made Rooney central to his planning. Moyes admitted he took off Kagawa for tactical reasons: ‘We want Shinji to feel he has an opportunity to show what he can do. His best position is arguably at No 10 playing behind a main striker, but he’s used to playing on the left-hand side with Japan. There is a lot of competition here and we want to push each other to improve performances."

Paper Round's view: United fans have been screaming for Kagawa to be given more of a chance in the team but the Japanese international still needs to show more on his limited opportunities. Moyes seems to be struggling to find a fit for Kagawa and could be tempted to cash-in in January and improve other areas. Kagawa is still highly regarded in Europe from his time at Borussia Dortmund and is very marketable too so could still command a big fee.

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Zaha left in 'limbo' at Manchester United: Nottingham Forest have failed in a loan move for Wilfried Zaha according to the Sunday People. Forest were still given a hands-off warning when they made an approach to take Zaha, 20, on loan, as United are keen to get him up to speed themselves. Moyes has been working on specific parts of Zaha’s game to help him mature and to ensure that his lack of experience in the top flight does not impact on the side once he gets on the pitch.

Paper Round's view: Zaha is another player who seems to struggling to impress David Moyes and a loan move could be the answer. However, he showed last season that he is too good for the Championship so Forest's move was a little ambitious. A loan move in January to a Premier League club would make more sense with former club Crystal Palace one club who would be delighted to take him back. If Moyes continues to struggle though he may roll the dice and give Zaha a chance in the United side.

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Mertesacker to be offered new contract at Arsenal: Arsenal will offer Per Mertesacker a new contract to keep him at the Emirates for the next three years, according to the Sunday Mirror. At the end of this season, the Germany international will have one year left on his deal. Manager Arsene Wenger wants to ensure that the central defender prolongs his stay, and talks about an extension are imminent.

Paper Round's view: It took time for Mertesacker to settle in London and his form on the pitch was shaky at times. However, as noted earlier, there is a nice German contingent at the club now and Mertesacker has enjoyed a great start to the season as Arsenal look to make a title challenge. He looks happy on and off the pitch and a new deal makes sense for all concerned.

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Sunderland owner Ellis Short considers Gus Poyet and Steve McClaren: Sunderland's Sunderland's senior players have urged the club's owner to install a British manager, ideally with Premier League experience, as Paolo Di Canio's successor but Ellis Short's Italian director of football disagrees, writes the Observer. Roberto De Fanti believes another foreign coach is needed, preferably Gus Poyet. Short is also exploring a third option: Rene Meulensteen. Sir Alex Ferguson's former assistant at Manchester United.

Paper Round's view: Poyet looks the riskiest option of the three as some players at Brighton complained about his man-management skills and that seems to have been the problem with Di Canio. Sunderland need a manager who the players like and respect more than anything else. If caretaker boss Kevin Ball gets a couple of early wins, don't rule him out of the equation either.

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