Premier League - Paper Round: Chelsea in pole position for Costa

Chelsea are set to bid for Diego Costa; Blackpool's Tom Ince is on the verge of signing a pre-contract with Monaco; and Manchester United are involved in a straight fight with Real Madrid for Ilkay Gundogan - here are the main stories making headlines in this morning's papers.

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Premier League - Paper Round: Chelsea in pole position for Costa
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Diego Costa

Chelsea set to bid for Costa: Chelsea are preparing to make a bid to sign scoring sensation Diego Costa in the summer, reports the Daily Star. The Brazil-born striker has committed himself to Atletico Madrid this season, but "is aware of Chelsea's interest", the paper claims. He has a £32 million buy-out clause in his current deal, something which Arsenal are also aware of, although Chelsea "appear to have an advantage" over the Gunners. Why? Because the player is represented by agent Jorge Mendes - who just so happens to be Mourinho’s agent as well.

Paper Round's view: Diego Costa is a name that is sure to be bandied about ad nauseum until he eventually leaves Atletico, such is his talent and the identity of his current club - who will struggle to keep him, despite the fact that they are joint-top of the Spanish league. Costa's current has made him the hottest property in Europe right now - in other words, the best player who is actually buyable. That being the case, every club with any kind of financial backing will be linked to him - especially the likes of Chelsea, who are in need of a world class goalscorer despite Jose Mourinho's insistence a few weeks ago that they're not in the market right now. And Mourinho's link to Costa's agent could indeed be crucial: it'll be far easier for the initial approaches to be made through back channels when there's only one palm to be greased.

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Monaco set to sign Ince: Monaco appear to have won the race to sign England U21 winger Tom Ince after setting up talks with him in London on Thursday, a number of papers report. The Daily Mail claims that Blackpool boss Paul Ince - yes, he is indeed Tom's dad - pulled out of a press conference to drive his son to the capital and meet with representative of the French club. Ince junior's contract with Blackpool expires at the end of the season and he has been free to talk to foreign clubs since the turn of the year. Ajax and Inter Milan, along with Swansea and Tottenham, have also been interested in a move for him at the end of the current campaign.

Paper Round's view: What a great move this would be for the youngster. Not enough English players try their luck abroad yet those that do have the courage to do move to foreign climes usually find it a rewarding experience - something former Inter player Ince senior is no doubt relaying to his son. Not only would Ince's bank balance be fattened by a move to Monaco, but he would gain invaluable experience playing in a team that should be challenging Paris Saint-Germain for the French title next year.

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United in fight with Real for Gundogan: Manchester United and Real Madrid are involved in a straight fight to sign Borussia Dortmund’s Ilkay Gundogan, reports The Independent. With Anderson set to join Fiorentina on loan, David Moyes has stepped up his interest in the £25m-rated Germany international - but Real are also admirers of the 23-year-old, whose contract expires in 18 months.

Paper Round's view: When was the last time United won a fight with Real over the signature of a player wanted by both clubs? It certainly doesn't happen very often, with the Spanish club usually getting their way. And this time around, it looks no different with United unable to guarantee any new recruits Champions League football next season, something which Real pretty much can.

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Kalou set for Spurs talks: Former Chelsea forward Salomon Kalou is due to have talks with Tottenham about a move back to the Premier League, according to the Daily Mirror. The Ivorian's club Lille are thought to be unwilling to sell, but Spurs have sounded out his representatives and will hold discussions on Friday about a £3 million move. The paper claims that Kalou will wait on the outcome of the talks before deciding on his future.

Paper Round's view: Is Kalou the man to bring Spurs out of their AVB-induced malaise? Probably not, but he could at least be a valuable squad player and at £3m he will not have to shoulder the kind of expectation some other recent Spurs signings have to.

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Arsenal bid for Morata in jeopardy: Arsenal's hopes of signing Real Madrid star Alvaro Morata are in the balance after Inter Milan and Juventus both registered their interest, reports the Daily Express. With a new striker the Gunners' main concern this January, 21-year-old Morata has been linked with a loan move to the north London club over recent weeks. But Inter and Juve are both willing to offer £11 million to snare the youngster on a permanent basis, leaving the paper to suggest that one of the Serie A clubs could pinch him from under Arsene Wenger's nose.

Paper Round's view: If Wenger needs a quick fix in the striking department, perhaps Morata is not the man he needs to be looking at anyway. He has managed just two goals in 12 outings so far this season for Real - hardly the kind of form that suggests he can guarantee goals. Maybe Wenger would be best focusing his attention elsewhere.

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