United to trim squad: Manchester United will look to offload Ashley Young and Anderson as David Moyes looks to clear out his squad in January, reports the Daily Mirror. The duo are deemed surplus to requirements at Old Trafford with Moyes eyeing up New Year moves for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan and Leighton Baines. The acquisition of the latter from Everton would also allow United to jettison Alex Buttner while the paper reports that there are also question marks over Javier Hernandez's future.
Paper Round's view: This news could not come soon enough for some United fans, who have grown weary of Young and Anderson's ineffectiveness, not to mention the former's on-pitch theatrics. Anderson has to rank as one of the worst signings of the Ferguson era, given that he cost £24 million when he arrived from Porto in 2007. That he has managed to stay a United player for so long remains one of the great footballing mysteries.
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United face competition for Matic: Nemanja Matic, another United target, appears set to leave Benfica in January, although the Premier League side will face competition for his signature. The Daily Mirror reports that the Portuguese club have had strong interest from agents working for United but also from Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund.
Paper Round's view: The future of Matic could well be intertwined with that of Dortmund midfielder Gundogan - it's unlikely that both will go to United, so we could well end up with a scenario where United do a deal to take Gundogan to Old Trafford and clear the way for Matic to move to Dortmund. Or vice versa.
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Record low number of England fans: England will be cheered on in Brazil by the smallest number of official supporters seen at a tournament for years, according to the FA. The Daily Mail reports that Foreign Office officials have been told that it is estimated only around 1,100 members of the official fan club would make the World Cup trip next summer.
Paper Round's view: Tickets may be affordable - the reports claims the FA are to sell them for just £37.50 - but the cost of getting to Brazil is astronomical and understandable even the most hardened fan would have to think twice about shelling out £7000 for just travel and accommodation. But it could also have something to do with....
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"Violence, massed robberies and rapes": A report in the Daily Express claims that talk in Brazil a day before the World Cup draw was of “violence, massed robberies and rapes”. Those were the words of Brazil’s sports minister Aldo Rebelo, who spoke of the events that form "part of daily life" in Brazil and which fans could face next summer.
Paper Round's view: Scary stuff indeed and surely enough to put off the most hardened fan. That said, weren't there similar scare stories ahead of the last World Cup in South Africa? And how did that pan out? Either there was a brilliant cover-up job or, more likely, the fears about security simply weren't justified. So there's hope yet for Brazil.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Manchester United
- Borussia Dortmund
- Ilkay Gundogan