Premier League - Paper Round: Time's up at Old Trafford for Rooney

Wayne Rooney to leave Manchester United for certain; United are ready to make Cesc Fabregas their joint top-paid star after inceasing their bid for the Barcelona midfielder; Michael Laudrup could be on his way to Barcelona - here are today's main transfer stories from today's papers.

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Premier League - Paper Round: The price at which United will sell Rooney
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Wayne Rooney Manchester United

It's all over at Old Trafford for Rooney: The Sunday Times's lead sport story (apart from golf, cricket and cycling, of course) is that Wayne Rooney is close to agreeing a move to Chelsea after coming to the inescapable conclusion that his time is up at Manchester United.

"The striker is determined to leave Manchester United despite an attempt by David Moyes to persuade him to stay," the paper reports. "The United manager has held talks with Rooney, seeking to assure him that remarks suggesting the striker figures in his plans merely as a back-up to Robin van Persie were misinterpreted. Moyes also reiterated his determination to block Rooney’s exit.

"While the talks were amicable, the striker’s desire to quit United has only hardened in recent days. He is understood to be more upset by the statement from Ed Woodward, United’s chief executive, that the club have no plans to discuss an extension to his contract, than anything Moyes has said. Rooney also feels that after nine seasons and 197 goals with United, he has reached a natural end at Old Trafford."

Paper round's view: This is the strongest sign so far that Rooney is indeed leaving, from a reputable paper with a good track record in investigative journalism. Rooney's choice seems simple: stay at United as an under-used and unappreciated number two, or head to Chelsea and revitalise his career under arguably the most exciting manager in world football.

Read the full story (this one's behind the Times paywall)

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United increase Fabregas offer: The Sunday Mirror are reporting that Manchester United will break their transfer record to secure the signing of former Gunner Cesc Fabregas - that means spending at least £30.8 million, the sum they once coughed up for Dimitar Berbatov. Not only that, but apparently the Red Devils are willing to make the midfielder their joint top earner, doubling his £100,000 per week wages. The paper claims that the Spaniard will consider the switch back to the Premier League should Barcelona, who are currently without a manager following the resignation of Tito Vilanova, accept the reportedly rebuffed offer of £30 million plus add-ons.

Paper Round’s view: Anybody given the chance to double their wages is surely going to at least mull over the idea. You’d be daft not to, right? Regardless of that, or whether Barca will even accept the offer, it’s still difficult to imagine Cesc in a United shirt. Though imagining him in a United shirt is a lot easier if you saw Jan Molby's blog last week.

Read the full story.

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Liverpool have Bertrand bid rejected: Liverpool have a had a bid for young English left-back Ryan Bertrand rejected, The Guardian reports. The former Gillingham defender is currently contracted to Chelsea until 2016 and the bid, which is undisclosed, has been firmly rejected. Chelsea are believed to have said that Bertrand has a ‘significant role to play’ in Chelsea’s future. The player has also given his two cents’ worth saying that he wants to be “Chelsea’s No.1 left back.”

Paper Round’s view: Looks like a non-starter, this one. Ashley Cole was given a one-year extension at the end of last year and could well be out of the door come the end of the 2013-14 season, which would pave the way for Bertrand to step into the shoes of the ‘much-loved’ Cole.

Read the full story.

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Villa and Sunderland chase Inter star: The Sunday Mirror are reporting that Aston Villa and Sunderland are battling it out for out-of-favour Internazionale midfielder Zdravko Kuzmanovic. The Serb has struggled for playing time since his move from Stuttgart and has reportedly been told that he is to be sold during this transfer window. Villa boss Paul Lambert is looking to add new recruits after Christian Benteke signed a new contract, while Sunderland’s Paolo Di Canio is looking to recruit following an equally disappointing 2012-13 Premier League season.

Paper Round’s view: Villa will be certainly looking for this type of player who will be able to provide Benteke with the ammunition needed to have an impressive second season in the Premier League. Likewise, with the acquisition of Italian striker Emanuele Giaccherini, Di Canio is sure to be keen on Kuzmanovic’s signature. Looks like a move that could certainly happen.

Read the full story.

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Former Barca stars to be offered manager’s job: There are a number of different stories floating around on Sunday regarding who is set to be offered the vacant manager’s job at the Nou Camp. Current Swansea manager Michael Laudrup is reportedly set to be offered the job, according to a number of newspapers. He’s been quick to dismiss the stories, however, describing them as “pure speculation.” The Observer reports that Luis Enrique is set to be offered the job.

Paper Round’s view: Barca certainly do like to keep it ‘in house’. Mes Que un Club and all that… Laudrup would certainly fit the bill with the Catalan giants. He obviously has the same mentality as those around the club and has had Swansea playing in a not too dissimilar fashion. Maybe it’s one step too soon for Laudrup, though. And Luis Enrique?! That’s not going to happen – he only joined Celta Vigo last month…

Read the full story.

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Cisse out, Gomis in at Newcastle: The Newcastle Chronicle believe that Lyon and France striker Bafetimbi Gomis is on his way to St James’ Park which could spell the end of Papiss Demba Cisse. The Chronicle ‘understands’ that the north east of England is the 27-year-old’s preferred choice with the player looking to join a number of his compatriots at Alan Pardew’s club. Aston Villa had also been linked with the former St Etienne man but the striker sees Newcastle as a better career choice.

Paper Round’s view: This could well happen. Pardew isn’t short of Frenchmen at the club and, despite a quite dismal outing in last season’s Premier League, they could well have persuaded the striker to join the Magpies. Cisse’s ongoing saga with Newcastle’s kit sponsor could well be a factor in bringing in another striker.

Read the full story.

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