Paper Round: Messi wants Aguero at Barcelona
Lionel Messi wants Barcelona to move for Sergio Aguero as Manchester City face expulsion from the Champions League; Carlo Ancelotti rejected an £18m-a-year deal to become Manchester United manger; and Brendan Rodgers is set to sign a new deal at Liverpool - here are the main stories making headlines in today's newspapers.
Messi calls for Aguero signing: Lionel Messi has called on Barcelona to sign Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero this summer, according to the Daily Mail. The paper reports that Barca have endured "a terrible season" and Messi is keen the club reinforce before the next campaign, with his fellow Argentine Aguero one player he wants to see arrive at the Camp Nou. The Catalan club will have to take his suggestions seriously, the paper adds.
Paper Round's view: Messi is Messi, and whatever he says goes in Barcelona. So if he wants to play alongside Aguero next season, Barca are likely to give it a go. Of course, City are sure to block any move for their star striker, who has given no indication that he wants a fresh challenge. And with City on the brink of securing a second title in three years, there is little reason to suggest that will change. And that's not even beginning to think about how Barca would accommodate Messi, Aguero and Neymar into their side.
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City face expulsion from Champions League: Manchester City will risk being thrown out of the Champions League if they fight the sanctions about to be handed down to the club for their breach of the Financial Fair Play rules. A football law specialist has told the Independent that should City appeal the settlement offered by UEFA, it would create a “higher risk of expulsion” for the club. “It seems logical that if you settle with UEFA you are going to receive greater leniency from the regulator,” Daniel Geey said. “That is the incentive to settle." The report adds that it would surprising if City faced as tough a punishment as Paris Saint-Germain, who will receive a €60m (£49m) fine, a reduction from 25 to 21 in their squad for next season’s competition and the stipulation that their wage bill for next season’s competition must not exceed this season’s.
Paper Round's view: The reality is that even if City do get slapped with the same punishment as PSG, £50m is still a drop on the ocean for the club's mega-wealthy owners. Risking expulsion from the Champions League for the sake of such a relatively insignificant amount of cash (for them) seems like a rather unadvisable road to go down. Likewise, reducing their squad by four players (21 should still be enough to compete) and being limited to this year's wage levels should not be too much of a burden for the club, and they would do well to put up and shut up to avoid any further mess.
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Ancelotti rejected mega-deal at United: The Daily Mirror reports that Carlo Ancelotti passed up on an £18m-a-year deal to become Manchester United's next manager. Citing reports in Spain, the paper claims that the Real Madrid boss was offered the huge salary to move to the Premier League but rejected it in favour of staying at the Bernabeu. Louis van Gaal has since been installed as favourite to take over from interim boss Ryan Giggs, following the sacking of David Moyes last month.
Paper Round's view: Those figures are not to be sniffed at, but it would seem that Ancelotti rather likes his Champions League football, something United were not able to offer him as part of their huge financial package. And with Madrid in with a real chance of hoisting the European Cup for a 10th time this season - and Ancelotti going down in the club's history books as the man who led them to La Decima - it's easy to see why the coach made his choice.
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Rodgers to be rewarded with new deal: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has agreed a new contract that he could sign before Sunday's final home game of the season against Newcastle. The Sun reports that the Northern Irishman is set to put pen to paper on a £12m deal that will see him stay at Anfield for at least the next four years. Sources claim Rodgers has already shaken hands on the deal, which will tie him to Anfield until 2018.
Paper Round's view: The report claims that Kopites can rest easy in the knowledge that their leader will not be tempted by any of the interest shown in him from some of Europe's biggest clubs, but his signing of a new deal was never really in doubt. Rodgers has made it clear that he wants to create something lasting at Anfield, and to jump ship just at this juncture would have been madness. Nevertheless, it's great news for Liverpool and under the stewardship of Rodgers, fans can look forward to next season.
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Suarez at centre of Real interest: Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has replaced Sergio Aguero as Real Madrid's top transfer target this summer, according to a report in The Times. Aguero's injuries this season have been noted by Real and they will now devote the close season to trying to prise Suarez away from Anfield. The Madrid club monitored Suarez during the Uruguayan's abortive attempt to join Arsenal last summer, but did not make a bid as they were too preoccupied with the signing of Gareth Bale. They will be less reticent this time around, the report claims, although they are aware it could take another world record fee to tempt Liverpool to part with the forward.
Paper Round's view: Stories linking Madrid to Suarez are nothing new, despite everything pointing away from a summer move for the player - recently-signed four-year deal at Anfield, incredible personal campaign, recognition with awards, Champions League football, Premier League title contention etc... Yet still a nagging doubt exists that Suarez could be tempted by a huge offer from Madrid, who care little about such trivialities as contracts at the best of times and will be sure to try their luck over the coming months.
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