Arsenal don't want Fabregas back, but are keen on Balotelli
Gunners 'don't need' their former skipper, as Man City plan swap deal involving Yaya Toure
The future of Cesc Fabregas is causing much excitement among the Fourth Estate with The Sun claiming that the Spaniard is being hawked around the Premier League after failing to make the grade with Barcelona. Arsenal have first refusal on the player, thanks to a clause inserted into his contract when they sold him to the Spaniards in 2011 but Arsene Wenger has made it clear that he does "not want to re-sign" his former skipper. Why? Because apparently Fabregas is "too similar in style" to Mesut Ozil, which presumably means that Fabregas can't take a penalty to save his life and goes missing for large chunks of the game.
As a result, says the Sun, Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea are set to battle it out for the midfielder who comes with a £30m price tag. The Daily Star believes it knows where the 27-year-old Fabregas is headed – Manchester City – and the paper even goes so far as to say that "initial talks have already been held" between the Premier League champions and Fabregas' representatives. City are said to see Fabregas as the man to replace Yaya Toure, who believes birthdays are taken rather more seriously in Catalonia than Manchester, and the Star raises the possibility of the Sky Blues and Barca indulging in swapsies.
But while the Gunners might not want Fabregas, they do have their eye on everyone's favourite madcap Italian striker, Mario Balotelli. The Daily Telegraph reports that the 23-year-old has been added to Arsenal's list of summer targets after it emerged that AC Milan were looking to offload the forward.
Arsene Wenger's targets already include Real Madrid pair Karim Benzema and Alvaro Morata, and QPR striker Loic Remy but the Telegraph notes that Wenger is a "big admirer" of the troublesome Italian.
Meanwhile the Star also claims that City are poised to offer Sergio Aguero a new contract, it's a manoeuvre amounts to a "hands-off warning" to a host of clubs tailing the Argentine stiker. Aguero signed a new deal a year ago but the Star says City will add a further year to his £180k-a-week contract to see off interest from Real Madrid and Juventus.
Elsewhere and the Daily Mail reports that Chelsea have confirmed to Frank Lampard that he is no longer part of their plans. As a result, the veteran midfielder is being lined up by New York City, although his uncle Harry, aka QPR gaffer Mr Redknapp, is still trying to entice Lampard to Loftus Road. But the Big Apple appears to be Lampard's likely destination with the MLS club apparently ready to offer him £5m a year.
And Lampard isn't the only player being lured across the Pond to New York City. The Manchester Evening News says that Atletico Madrid striker David Villa is also on the brink of agreeing terms with the club. Photographs appeared in the MEN at the weekend showing the 32-year-old Villa undergoing a medical in Manchester. What has Manchester got to do with New York City? you may ask. The Manhattan club is the Premier League champions' US franchise, and as City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak boasted recently: "Very soon you will be hearing about our first signing for our club in New York and it will be a very pleasant surprise I hope for our fans. This will be another story of organic development. This is a club that is in a wonderful city, with a great fanbase."
Finally, Sky Sports says that Tottenham are "not planning on making any bids" for Southampton's Adam Lallana. The 26-year-old frontman has been linked to a number of clubs recently but Spurs have withdrawn from the race, leaving Liverpool frontrunners to sign the England star after allegedly tabling a £25m bid.
However, Southampton have now lost two key figures this summer, after Rickie Lambert followed manager Mauricio Pochettino out of the door. The 32-year-old England striker has joined Liverpool, the club where he started his career, in the £4.5m deal. ·