Man Utd plot £40m move for Chelsea outcast Juan Mata
But David Moyes rejects Rooney swap idea as Hazard rubbishes talk of Blues to PSG switch
SEVERAL newspapers carry news that Manchester United are on the brink of making a £40m swoop for Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata. As the Daily Mail reports, the 25-year-old Spanish playmaker has failed to persuade Jose Mourinho of his talents since the Special One returned to Stamford Bridge in the summer and is allegedly eager for a way out of west London – even if it means dropping down to the mid-table mediocrity that is Manchester United these days.
Apparently United boss David Moyes is confident a deal can be reached with Chelsea despite the fact he's aware of the Blues continued interest in Wayne Rooney. But the Mail says Moyes will knock back any exchange deal and instead offer Chelsea £40m, a tidy sum considering they bought him from Valencia for just £23.5m back in the summer of 2011.
The Daily Mirror notes that Man United have denied making a formal offer. However, the paper adds that Chelsea are preparing themselves for a big money offer for the midfielder. They do not want to lose him to a potential rival, and the paper says Mourinho will "play hard ball" with United.
Complicating the matter further is the fact that the player has no wish to rock the boat, and will not push for a move, but is anxious to get game time to ensure his spot in Spain's World Cup squad.
Meanwhile Metro says that Eden Hazard has rubbished rumours linking him with a switch to Paris Saint-Germain. The Belgian ace has been reportedly the subject of much interest from PSG but in conversation with French television show Tele-Foot, the Chelsea man laughed off the idea, saying: "For four years, during each transfer market, there are rumours I will go here and there... Paris is a great club. But I am at Chelsea, there is no chance to see me leaving during that transfer market or during the next one... I don't want to leave. To me, Chelsea is the best place to improve."
One player who is expected to quit the Bridge is Samuel Eto'o, who finally won over the Chelsea faithful with a hat-trick against Man United on Sunday. However, the Daily Express says that the 32-year-old does not expect to be at Chelsea beyond the end of the season.
The Cameroon striker will see out the rest of this season and then move to Mallorca to end his career, says the paper, returning to the Spanish island where he spent four seasons between stints with Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Elsewhere and the Daily Express reports that Liverpool have confirmed defender Tiago Ilori has joined La Liga side Granada on loan for the rest of the season. The Reds conveyed the news on their website, explaining that the 20-year-old Ilori will spend the next six months with the Spanish side, who are currently tenth in La Liga. Ilori joined the Reds last September from Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon but has yet to make a first-team appearance for the club, spending most of his time playing for the U21s. "It has been difficult for him in terms of game time because he hasn't played," said Brendan Rodgers recently. "As a defender, he needs to be playing."
Still with Liverpool and Talksport claims that their chances of landing Lazio star Hernanes will depend on whether they're willing to spend big for the talented playmaker, who has become one of Europe's top talents. The 28-year-old Brazilian is being chased by the Reds, among others, but Lazio president Claudio Lotito has declared: "I do not want to sell him, we will have to receive an indecent offer - £15m will not be enough."
Finally, the Mirror says Napoli are closing in on a deal for Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen. The Belgian blocker has lost his place in the Gunners starting line-up this season with Arsene Wenger preferring Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker as his central defenders. Rumours have been growing in recent weeks that the 28-year-old Vermaelen could therefore be ready for a new challenge as he looks to get more game time ahead of Belgium's appearance in the summer World Cup. The Mirror says that according to Italian rag Corriere dello Sport, Napoli boss Rafa Benitez is "keen" to pair Vermaelen with Raul Albiol in his back four as the Serie A side look to close the gap on leaders Juventus.