UNITED CLOSE ON GAITAN SWOOP
Manchester United are reportedly “hours away” from signing Benfica ace Nicolas Gaitan.
The Daily Express, quoting reports in Spain, suggest United will move for the Argentina international, who they have been tracking for the last few years, as a direct replacement for Paris Saint Germain-bound Angel Di Maria.
The Express claims the move for Gaitan comes despite widespread reports that United are also hoping to signing Barcelona forward Pedro.
But Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal is now said to also want Gaitan, with Spanish news outlet Fichajes claiming that while an agreement has not been reached by the two clubs, a deal could be met “within hours”.
BERBATOV TO JOIN VILLA
Dimitar Berbatov has seemingly moved a step closer to joining Aston Villa after the former Spurs, Manchester United and Fulham striker cut short his holiday to finalise a deal in Birmingham on Monday.
The Daily Express claims Villa are closing in on a shock move for the player, who could become their ninth signing of the summer if he can agree the move.
Berbatov – a free agent after leaving Monaco at the end of last season – is also wanted by Werder Bremen and Bournemouth, but it seems he favours a move to Villa after positive talks.
The 34-year-old, who is Bulgaria’s top scorer with 48 goals, has held talks on the phone with the Villa over the last few days as Sherwood looks to boost his side’s scoring options.
“He’ll travel to Birmingham on Monday,” a source close to the player told the Express.
“He held several talks on the phone but the Villa bosses want some ‘straight’ talks.”
Berbatov had planned to stay in Bulgaria until the end of next week but the advanced negotiations with Villa has forced him to put his vacation to an end.
“If they reach a final agreement, it’s possible Berbatov to have a medical on Tuesday or Wednesday,” the source added.
“Yes, he still has offers from Werder Bremen and promoted English club but Villa is his priority at this stage,” the source said.
SPURS SET TO GO OUT ON BENDER
Tottenham are ready to step up their interest in Borussia Dortmund midfielder Sven Bender after failing to persuade Everton to sell James McCarthy.
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino is desperate for a new holding midfielder and has so far been rebuffed in an attempt to get the Toffees to cash in on the £20million-rated McCarthy.
But, according to the Daily Mirror, they are now looking at 24-year-old Bender who was left on the substitutes’ bench for the club’s Europa League game against Wolfsberger on Thursday night.
Bender – along with his brother Lars – has been a target for Arsenal in the past but now Spurs are ready to move in.
They are also looking at Stuttgart forward Timo Werner while Lyon claim they have rejected an £8m bid from Tottenham for striker Clinton N’Jie.
AND THE REST
– Al-Arabi boss Gianfranco Zola reckons Mario Balotelli must quit Liverpool and take refuge in Qatar to revive his ailing career (The Sun)
– Remy Cabella has been urged to quit Newcastle – by his former boss. The French international, 25, struggled in his first season on Tyneside following his £7m switch from Montpellier (The Sun)
– Angel Di Maria will feel the full fury of manager Louis van Gaal – by being made to sweat on his move to Paris Saint-Germain (Daily Mirror)
– Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has no plans to offload any of the club’s players, which is a blow to United who are looking to sign Pedro (Daily Mirror)
– Real Madrid president Florentino Perez told Sergio Ramos he couldn’t let him leave the club and sign for Manchester United because if he did, he would be the next one through the door (Daily Mail)
– Roma are trying to beat Liverpool to the signing of 22-year-old Paris St-Germain left-back Lucas Digne (Daily Express)
– Anthony Stokes has won a recall to Ronny Deila’s Celtic squad for today’s league opener – despite being told his Celtic career is effectively over, with Hull and Sheffield Wednesday and Wigan all interested (Daily Express)
– Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes striker Christian Benteke, 24, will prove to be “a bargain” despite costing £32.5m from Aston Villa (The Times)