The following is a roundup of soccer stories from U.K. newspapers with clickable Internet links.
Rafael Benitez is in line to take over as Chelsea’s permanent manager after being appointed on an interim basis last month, the Sun reported.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has been impressed with the team’s run of six wins in its past seven games, during which the Blues scored 26 goals, the newspaper added.
Arsenal has been quoted a transfer fee of 16 million pounds ($25.8 million) to sign Barcelona striker David Villa, the Daily Mail reported.
Although Gunners manager Arsene Wenger would prefer a short-term loan for the 31-year-old Villa, he’s willing to offer a permanent move for the right price, the newspaper said. The fee quoted by Barcelona is likely to be too much for Arsenal because of Villa’s age, the Mail added.
PSG Targets Baines
Everton defender Leighton Baines is a shock target for French club Paris Saint-Germain, the Sun reported.
PSG has increased its interest in Baines, 28, because manager Carlo Ancelotti is no longer certain that Chelsea’s Ashley Cole will join on a free transfer at the end of the season, the newspaper added.
Chelsea joined PSG and Manchester United in considering a move for Baines, who is valued at 15 million pounds, the Independent reported.
Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao, a target for Premier League rivals Chelsea and Manchester City, said he doesn’t expect to be leaving the Spanish club in the January transfer window, the Daily Mirror reported.
“My expectation is that I will be staying at the club until the end of the season,” the Mirror cited the Colombian striker as saying.
Newcastle United will get just 5 million pounds should a rival club activate the 7.5 million-pound release clause in striker Demba Ba’s contract next month, with the rest of the money going to the player, the Sun reported.
Ba has resisted all Newcastle’s efforts to get him to sign a new deal that would scrap the clause, the newspaper added.
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