Sergio Aguero has been linked with a return to Spain, while the futures of Rafa Benitez and Slaven Bilic look far from assured, all in today’s papers.
BILIC, BENITEZ FUTURES UNDER THE MICROSCOPE
With the transfer window closed it’s no surprise that the back pages of the papers are full of manager speculation and Slaven Bilic and Rafa Benitez are the focus.
Benitez’s long-term future at Newcastle appears uncertain, with the Spanish boss seeking significant reassurances about the club’s ambition after a January transfer window which did not go as he had wanted, according to the Newcastle Chronicle.
Benitez was left fuming after there were no new faces in at St James’ Park in the transfer window.
“We knew what we needed and we knew what we have,” said Benitez.
“I’m disappointed (not to have signed anyone) but I have to concentrate on the players we have.”
Apparently Rafa wanted two new recruits but ended up with none and now he will hold talks with Ashley before the end of the season before deciding whether to see out the remaining two years of his contract.
— Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) February 2, 2017
Meanwhile, Bilic could be heading for the exit at West Ham with Roberto Mancini in line to take over.
Mancini was at the London Stadium to see the Hammers lose 4-0 to his old club Manchester City on Wednesday and the Daily Mirror claims he is keen on a return to the Premier League.
It’s reported that Bilic’s position will be reviewed in the summer and Mancini is “waiting in the wings” after spells at Inter Milan and Galatasaray.
CARRICK PAY CUT
Michael Carrick “is likely to be asked to take a pay cut” to stay at Manchester United, say The Sun.
Carrick, 35, is under contract until the summer but if he wants to sign a 12-month extension at Old Trafford he will have to reduce his wages from around £130,000 a week to £70,000 a week.
It all sounds pretty straight forward when you consider legends such as Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand all had to agree to similar deals towards the end of the their United careers.
A United source said in The Sun: “Carrick could be asked to take a reduction to his salary to secure another deal.
“He wants to stay and by all accounts Jose has told the board similar. He is on big wages here and would have to take a cut.”
REAL PLOT AGUERO MOVE
In a Daily Mirror exclusive they report that Real Madrid are ready to “pounce” for Man City striker Sergio Aguero.
The 28-year-old Argentina international was left on the bench for Wednesday’s thumping win at West Ham and the Spanish giants are interested as they look to offload France forward Karim Benzema and Spain striker Alvaro Morata this summer.
Aguero has extended his contract until 2020 but the arrival of Gabriel Jesus may well mean less starting time for him and Real could see this as the perfect time to get their man.
“The Spanish giants are long-term admirers” of the former Atletico forward and at 28 Aguero may see the switch back to Madrid as his final move.
Pep Guardiola, who yesterday declared that Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling and Jesus were the future of the club, has always insisted that Aguero is not for sale. Real Madrid though are set to test City’s resolve with a summer bid for the player.
AND THE REST
Swansea manager Paul Clement has revealed he attempted to sign Frank Lampard during the January transfer window. (Daily Mirror)
Saido Berahino, Stoke City’s £12m window acquisition, allegedly served a suspension after failing a drugs test while at West Bromwich Albion. (The Times)
Clubs were left shocked by Patrick Bamford’s demands during the transfer window. (Daily Mail)
Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 35, could be open to a move to Italian side Napoli, claims his agent Mino Raiola. (Guardian)
Arsene Wenger has revealed Arsenal are following AS Monaco’s 18-year-old striker Kylian Mbappe, who broke former Gunners forward Thierry Henry’s record to become the French club’s youngest ever scorer. (London Evening Standard)
Manchester United have received a boost in their pursuit of Benfica defender Victor Lindelof, with the Portuguese club paying to remove a clause in the 22-year-old Sweden international’s contract that entitled one of his former clubs a portion of any future transfer fee. (Manchester Evening News)
Gunners manager Arsene Wenger will sit with security among Chelsea fans when his side visit Stamford Bridge on Saturday. The fixture will be the third included as part of the Frenchman’s four-match touchline ban. (London Evening Standard)
Uruguay defender Martin Caceres, 29, is poised to join AC Milan. The former Barcelona, Juventus and Sevilla player had been linked with Chelsea, Swansea, Sunderland, Southampton and West Brom earlier in the season. (Calciomercato)
Real Madrid striker Jese Rodriguez has revealed why he opted for a loan move to Las Palmas rather than Middlesbrough. The 23-year-old Spaniard says he had given his word to the La Liga club’s president. (Gazette live)
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has lost the services of his “best defender” by allowing Mamadou Sakho to join Crystal Palace on loan, according to former England captain Rio Ferdinand. (London Evening Standard)
But Klopp has given the France international, 26, hope of a future at Anfield by emphasising the move is only a loan and a “solution for this moment”. (Liverpool Echo)
Arsenal great Robert Pires believes the Premier League title race will be over if his former club lose to runaway leaders Chelsea on Saturday. (Four Four Two)