Paper Gossip: City Eye New Aguero, Kagawa Exit Talk and Becks Wants Xavi

Alex LivieFeatured ColumnistFebruary 21, 2014

Paper Gossip: City Eye New Aguero, Kagawa Exit Talk and Becks Wants Xavi

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    The papers are ticking over nicely with transfer speculation, with a host of big clubs reported to be flexing their muscles.

    Tottenham slipped to defeat at Dnipro, and Tim Sherwood was not happy with the pitch.

    Ray Wilkins was axed by Fulham earlier this month, and he has conducted an in-depth interview which touches on a range of subjects.

    All this and more feature in Friday’s edition of the Paper News and Gossip Roundup.

City Cast Eyes on 'New Aguero'

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    “The New Sergio Aguero” is the sort of title young players would be very proud to have.

    That is the tag that hangs over San Lorenzo's 18-year-old forward Angel Correa.

    And if Ed Malyon of the Mirror is to be believed, he could be lining up alongside the man himself.

    Malyon claims Manchester City sent scouts to watch the teenager on Wednesday evening, and they are ready to rival Atletico Madrid for his signature.

City Eye Valdes Swoop

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    If Joe Hart was feeling a little more secure at Manchester City, he’d better not pick up the Daily Star on Friday.

    Hart has battled back after a shaky start to the season to win his place back, but the Star’s Paul Brown claims in an exclusive that City are closing in on Barcelona keeper Victor Valdes.

    Valdes was felt to be on the brink of a deal to join Monaco, but Brown claims that deal could collapse and that City are ready to step in.

    In his piece, Brown wrote:

    Valdes is understood to have verbally agreed to join Monaco—but was set a deadline to sign a binding pre-contract with them which has now passed.

    That has angered billionaire owner Dmitry Rybolovlev, who is ready to turn his attention to Hannover’s Ron-Robert Zieler instead, and City are poised to take advantage.

End of the Line at United for Kagawa?

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    Is Shinji Kagawa’s time at Manchester United drawing to a close?

    Chris McKenna believes so. The Daily Star writer claims the arrival of Juan Mata in January was a nail in the coffin of the Japan international midfielder.

    McKenna states that Kagawa has not featured for United since the arrival of Mata, and that Turkish side Besiktas and his former club Borussia Dortmund are eyeing summer deals.

Beckham Sets Sights on Xavi

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    Upon the announcement of him taking over the new MLS franchise in Miami, David Beckham talked boldly about bringing in star players.

    That still appears to be the plan, as Simon Jones of the Daily Mail claims Beckham has his sights on arguably one of the best midfielders of the past decade.

    Barcelona playmaker Xavi is in Beckham’s sights, according to Jones.

    In his piece, Jones wrote:

    Xavi, who played his 144th Champions League tie in the 2-0 win over Manchester City on Tuesday night is tied to Barcelona until 2016 when he will be 36 and, despite interest from elsewhere, he has made it clear he wants to see out his career at the Camp Nou.

    That would fall in line with Beckham’s franchise aspirations with his Miami-based club not expected to be ready to start until 2017 as they plan to build a new stadium with the waterfront at Biscayne Bay, near where Caribbean cruise ships dock, a potential site.

Wilkins Opens Up to Quell Booze Rumours

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    Ray Wilkins was sacked by Fulham last month, following a matter of weeks with the club.

    It is the latest blow to the former England captain, and he has spoken to the Daily Mail in a bid to quell rumours about his departure.

    Wilkins has opened his heart to the Mail’s Matt Lawton, and he admits to a long battle with alcohol.

    But Wilkins denies that his battle with the bottle was the reason behind his departure from Craven Cottage.

    He has admitted to suffering from colitis and that was the reason why he did not return to the dugout following his row with Brendan Rodgers in the recent game with Liverpool.

    If I don’t deal with the latest rumours my footballing life will be done and dusted. End of story.

    There are a load of rumours flying about that I was out of order at the Liverpool game. Well I can categorically deny those accusations.

    This is difficult for me to talk about because this is a situation with the toilet. It’s embarrassing. But I’d been up to Aston Villa and back on the train to see the Under 21s play that day and I hadn’t taken my medication for colitis.

    To be honest, I’d been so euphoric since I’d returned to football in December, I hadn’t particularly felt the need to take it every day. But my wife noticed a few of the old symptoms coming back and by the time the game started my stomach was bubbling.

    Wilkins talks at length about a range of issues, including an addiction to valium and a battle with depression.

'Disgraceful' Pitch No Excuse for Spurs Boss Sherwood

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    Tottenham boss Tim Sherwood pointed the finger at Dnipro’s pitch following his side’s 1-0 loss in the Europa League.

    Excuse is a word Sherwood did not want to use, but he used it twice in a couple of sentences when asked to sum up the result and the gilt-edged chance misfiring striker Roberto Soldado passed up in Ukraine.

    The Mail’s John Edwards has the quotes:

    I am sure Robbie would agree he would stick that away 99 times out of 100. I haven't seen it again but I'm not sure he will be too complimentary about the pitch.

    I am not using it as an excuse, not for the chance, as both teams played on it but I am sure that it must have played some part in Robbie missing that one.

    The pitch was a disgrace, it is no excuse as both teams had to play on it but it is possibly the worst pitch I have experienced in a long time.

Reds Erred in Not Landing Konoplyanka

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    Yevhen Konoplyanka was a key figure in the winter transfer window, but he ultimately missed out on a move to Liverpool after the Reds and Dnipro failed to agree a deal.

    It was fairly obvious that the papers would have him under the microscope in Tottenham’s game with Dnipro on Thursday.

    The Mail’s Matthew Morlidge was charged with the task of analysing Konoplyanka's performance, and he is of the opinion that the Reds let a diamond slip through their net.

    When Liverpool's transfer deadline day move for Yevhen Konoplyanka failed at the last minute, many fans were left wondering exactly what they missed out on.

    Against Tottenham on Thursday evening, another club who battled for his signature in January, Konoplyanka proved his worth for Dnipro.

    From the first minute, the 24-year-old set up on the left-wing, ready to torment opposing right-back Kyle Naughton.

    And that he did. Capable of beating Naughton for pace on his outside or with trickery cutting in-field, Konoplyanka dictated Dnipro's attacking style despite not playing in the central areas.

Image Rights the Only Thing Holding Up Rooney Deal

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    Deal done. That is the view of the Mail’s Ian Ladyman with regard to Wayne Rooney’s new contract at Manchester United.

    That’s not strictly true, but Ladyman claims the “fundamental details of his new £300,000-a-week contract” have been thrashed out.

    The sticking point before Rooney puts pen to paper, according to Ladyman, is a wrangle over image rights.

    In his piece, Ladyman wrote:

    Rooney cannot actually sign the deal until a couple of issues over image rights are ironed out.

    United chief executive Ed Woodward is confident that can be sorted out over the course of Thursday and or Friday and there is still an outside chance that confirmation of a new five-and-half-year deal could be made before close of play on Friday.

Debuchy Coy on PSG Move Talk

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    Newcastle United lost Yohan Cabaye to Paris Saint-Germain in January, but he may not be the only Magpie to fly the nest to Paris.

    The Mirror’s Jason Mellor has picked up on quotes from Newcastle defender Mathieu Debuchy, who has done little to dampen talk of a move away from St James’ Park.

    Per Mellor’s piece, Debuchy said: "PSG? I’m here until the end of the season and as for next year, I do not know.”

Bits and Pieces: United Eye Saints Teen, Ibe Set for Loan Move and More

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    Manchester United are in the hunt for Southampton midfielder Harrison Reed, according to the Mirror’s David McDonnell.

    The teenager has made just one start for Saints, but it appears he has a tall reputation as McDonnell claims United have posted scouts to check on his progress.

    Alan Hutton has no future at Aston Villa, with manager Paul Lambert keen the get the defender off the wage books—reports the Mirror’s Ian Baker.

    Liverpool are ready to send Jordon Ibe on loan to Birmingham City in a bid to boost his experience, according to the Mirror’s Alan Nixon.

    Norwich City manager Chris Hughton has two games to save his job, according to the Telegraph's John Percy.