The following is a roundup of soccer stories from U.K. newspapers, with clickable links to the Web.
Arsenal will only let captain Cesc Fabregas join Barcelona if the Spanish champion agrees to its demands for an 80 million pound ($114.9 million) transfer fee, the Daily Mail reported.
The newspaper said Arsenal is demanding the world record fee Real Madrid paid Manchester United for winger Cristiano Ronaldo last year.
Fabregas, who was trained by Barcelona before moving to Arsenal at 16, has told the London club’s manager Arsene Wenger he wants to leave, the Mail said. It added Barcelona had hoped to announce Fabregas’s signing tomorrow.
The Mirror said Wenger wants to persuade Fabregas to stay at Arsenal for one more season.
Barcelona wants to pair new 40 million euro ($49.7 million) signing David Villa with Liverpool striker Fernando Torres, the Daily Mirror reported today.
The pair plays together in Spain’s national team and the Catalan club is willing to offer 70 million pounds for Torres, the newspaper added.
Speculation about Torres’s future has mounted following Liverpool’s failure to qualify for the Champions League. The 18-time English champion’s debts have mounted to more than 350 million pounds.
Red Knights’ Fear Flop
The Red Knights, a group of wealthy supporters planning a bid for Manchester United, fear their efforts to buy the 18-time English champion will fail, the Guardian reported.
The newspaper said senior figures in the movement are concerned they won’t be able to make a bid that would convince current owners, the U.S.-based Glazer family, to relinquish control.
Rivals Liverpool and Everton are competing to sign Ajax centre-back Jan Vertonghen, the Daily Mirror reported. The newspaper said the defender is valued at 11 million pounds.
Inter Says no Rafa Talks
Italian champion Inter Milan denied it has approached Liverpool’s Rafael Benitez about the possibility of replacing manager Jose Mourinho, the Sun reported.
Mourinho has talked about joining Real Madrid, fuelling speculation that Benitez may move to Italy.
“We absolutely have had no contact with Benitez,” the Sun quoted Inter sporting director Marco Branca saying. “Our coach is Jose Mourinho.”