Premier League - Papers: United blow over 'South American Ronaldo'

Manchester United's hopes of signing the 'South American Cristiano Ronaldo' have been dealt a massive blow, according to the Daily Mail.

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Premier League - Papers: United blow over 'South American Ronaldo'
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Porto's James Rodriguez celebrates a goal (Reuters)

Alex Ferguson reportedly wants to step up his pursuit of 21-year-old Colombian winger James Rodriguez, but has been shocked at the player agreeing a new deal with his club Porto which bumps his release clause up to an eye-watering £36 million.

Rodriguez's previous release clause had been £24m, a fee which United had hoped to meet by negotiating a swap deal to send Nani in the opposite direction.

Nani is yet to agree a new deal to stay at Old Trafford, with the player said to "need more emotional contact" from Ferguson if he is to stay put (according to Jose Peseiro, his former manager at Sporting Lisbon).

If Fergie faces a choice between letting Nani feel the love or giving him the shove, we've a feeling that the Portuguese winger's days as a Red Devil are numbered.

Someone whose days are not numbered is Mark Hughes, according to The Sun. The paper reports that the QPR boss - who had reportedly been on his last chance before the weekend draw with Reading - received an extraordinary vote of confidence from QPR chief Tony Fernandes. An "insider" tells the paper that Fernandes apparently went into the changing room after the match on Sunday and told players: "These things take time - I'm sticking with the manager."

Paolo di Canio and Gianluca Vialli are first in line to replace Nigel Adkins if he is sacked as Southampton manager, the Daily Mail reports.

Saints chief Nicola Cortese is apparently furious at the club's start to the season, though he will give Nigel Adkins one more chance this weekend - though only because Cortese wants a new boss lined up before the axe falls on Adkins.

Di Canio, who has impressed since taking over at League One Swindon, and former Chelsea manager Vialli are already on the shortlist, while Gordon Strachan and even Harry Redknapp are mentioned as potential targets.

Given the manner in which both Strachan and Redknapp left St Mary's during previous stints - Strachan left in deeply acrimonious circumstances while Redknapp deserted to join arch-rivals Portsmouth - either appointment would seem suicidal.

Shakhtar Donetsk star Fernandinho has openly welcomed a move to the Premier League, the Daily Star reports, saying that England is a "beautiful country" and that "it would be very good for my family and me".

Fulham are looking into a £2.5m move for Standard Liege midfielder William Vainqueur, according to The Sun.

And finally, the Daily Express reports that Liverpool are being investigated for tapping up Clint Dempsey while he was still a Fulham player in the summer. The Reds failed in their attempt to sign Dempsey (who ended up with Tottenham), but given the way their luck has run over the last few years it'd be just like them to end up getting punished for an illegal transfer move that still fell through. As the sprinklers proved on Sunday, it never rains but it pours at Anfield.

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