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Kroenke Backs Arsenal’s $65 Million Fabregas Valuation: Roundup

The following is a roundup of soccer stories from U.K. newspapers, with clickable links to the Web.

Kroenke Backs Wenger

Arsenal’s majority shareholder Stan Kroenke yesterday backed manager Arsene Wenger’s 40 million-pound ($65 million) valuation of Cesc Fabregas, the Independent reported.

Wenger was given Kroenke’s support to hold his position in any negotiations with Barcelona over the potential transfer of the Spanish midfielder, who was included in the squad for tomorrow’s exhibition match against Benfica in Lisbon, the Independent added.

Cole to Paris

Liverpool midfielder Joe Cole is a target for French club Paris Saint-Germain, which will try to get him on a free transfer, the Sun reported.

Cole, whose future at Anfield under manager Kenny Dalglish is in doubt, has told friends he is ready to move abroad if a switch to a leading Premier League club doesn’t happen, the Sun added.

Lucas for Lucas

Liverpool is considering Argentina midfielder Lucas Biglia as a possible replacement for Lucas Leiva should the Brazilian be loaned out following the arrivals of Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing, the Daily Mirror reported.

If Leiva does go on loan to another club, Liverpool will need a replacement to deputize and protect the back four, the Mirror added.

Fletcher Returns

Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher was able to join in a full training session yesterday for the first time since the end of last season, the Daily Mail reported.

The Scot had failed to report back on time after the off-season break as he recovers from a debilitating virus that kept him out for two months of the Premier League title run-in, the newspaper said.

Obertan Overture

Newcastle is ready to make a bid for Manchester United winger Gabriel Obertan, the Daily Express reported.

While a permanent deal is being considered, the Magpies may initially take Obertan on loan, the Mirror added. The 22-year-old has been unable to secure a regular berth in United’s senior team since joining the club two years ago, the newspaper said.

Bench Start

Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas is ready to leave U.K.- record signing Fernando Torres on the substitutes’ bench at the beginning of the season, the Mirror reported.

Didier Drogba is likely to start as the attacking spearhead in Villas-Boas’s preferred 4-3-3 system when Chelsea opens its Premier League campaign at Stoke on Aug. 14, the Mirror added. Torres has scored once in 18 appearances since his 50 million-pound move from Liverpool in January, the paper said.

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