The following is a roundup of soccer stories from U.K. newspapers, with clickable links to the Web.
De Marcos Monitored
Manchester United will have Athletic Bilbao’s Oscar de Marcos watched by the club’s chief scout, Jim Lawlor, after manager Alex Ferguson’s brother Martin looked at the midfielder last week, the Daily Mirror reported.
De Marcos, 22, scored against United in both games of their Europa League round of 16 matchup and the follow-up trips signal an off-season offer being made for a player who has a release clause of 26 million pounds ($41.3 million) in his contract, the Mirror added.
Dirk Kuyt’s six-year association with Liverpool could end in the off-season with Dutch club Feyenoord keen to re-sign their former player, the Daily Telegraph reported.
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish and director of football Damien Comolli want to reduce the average age of the Liverpool squad, leaving players including forward Kuyt, 31, and midfielder Maxi Rodriguez vulnerable to an exit, the newspaper said. Left-back Fabio Aurelio will not be offered a new contract and is surplus to requirements, the Telegraph added.
Italian clubs Fiorentina and Roma, and Galatasaray of Turkey, are also interested in signing Kuyt, who will have 12 months remaining on his Liverpool deal at the end of this season, the Daily Mail reported.
Liverpool has identified Feyenoord midfielder Tonny de Vilhena, 17, and Crewe’s 16-year-old midfielder Dan Smith as potential acquisitions as its recruitment policy focuses on youth, the Mail added.
Sergio Aguero said he should be fit for Manchester City’s Premier League trip to Arsenal on April 8 after missing the past two games following an allergic reaction to a pain-killing spray used to treat a foot injury, the Sun reported.
“If it all goes well, I’ll be at coach’s disposal,” the Sun cited the Argentine striker, who missed City’s draws against Stoke and Sunderland, as saying.
Newcastle is close to agreeing a 2 million-pound deal for Barnsley midfielder Jacob Butterfield even though he’s been ruled out until the start of next season because of a knee injury, the Mirror reported.
The Magpies are still willing to sign the player, agree compensation with Barnsley and take up Butterfield’s rehabilitation program after he tore his anterior cruciate ligament at the start of the year, the Mirror said.
Conte, whose team is unbeaten in its 30 Italian Serie A matches this season, is said to be taking English lessons, the newspaper said. Spurs deny having made contact with Conte or any other prospective managerial candidates and the club’s recruitment process will only begin once the Football Association’s intentions over the England job become clear, the Telegraph added.
Wolves’ Top Targets
Wolverhampton Wanderers owner Steve Morgan has identified former Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and ex- England captain Paul Ince as the major longterm candidates to succeed Mick McCarthy as manager, the Mail reported.
The 39-year-old Solskjaer, who guided Molde to the Norwegian league title in his first year as coach last season, is said to be Morgan’s preferred choice to replace interim manager Terry Connor, the Mail added.
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