The following is a roundup of soccer stories from U.K. newspapers, with clickable Internet links.
Race for Robin
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson told friends that his team will beat Manchester City and Juventus in the race to sign Arsenal striker Robin van Persie for 20 million pounds ($31.3 million), the Daily Mirror reported.
With a number of bids already made for van Persie, Arsenal is keen to decide his future before leaving this weekend for a pre-season tour of Asia, the newspaper added.
Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas told Luka Modric that he will not be sold to Real Madrid or any other club unless Spurs’ 35 million-pound asking price is met, the Daily Telegraph reported.
“There has been continuous interest from three different clubs in Luka,” the newspaper cited Villas-Boas as saying. “But it is important for Tottenham to hold onto their rights. His situation will continue as it is until the price is right.”
Chelsea reopened talks with Marseille about signing Spanish defender Cesar Azpilicueta, who would cost 7 million pounds, the Daily Mail reported.
The Blues made an initial inquiry in January for the 22-year-old Azpilicueta, who is part of Spain’s Olympic squad, the newspaper added.
Chelsea will try to sell Florent Malouda, Yossi Benayoun and Gael Kakuta to make room for new signings, the Sun reported.
Chelsea wants about 5 million pounds for Malouda, who has 12 months of his contract to run and had been seeking a release as a free agent, the newspaper said. Romelu Lukaku, Kevin De Bruyne and Josh McEachran are likely to be loaned out because Chelsea can only name a 25-man squad, the newspaper added.
Liverpool striker Andy Carroll, who’s been linked with Newcastle, Fulham and Aston Villa, wants his future resolved in the next week, the Mirror reported.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes a loan spell may be valuable to both club and player and would prefer to send Carroll to AC Milan, the newspaper said. If the Milan loan doesn’t happen, the Reds want to sell him, the Mirror added.