YOUNG ON HIS WAY TO OLD TRAFFORD
It's a meagre consolation on the morning after such a bad night, but it sounds as if Manchester United are all but certain to land Ashley Young ahead of Liverpool in the coming weeks - and maybe even sooner than that.
The Sunday Mirror reckons that 'the 25-year-old England international has his heart set on moving to Old Trafford' while The Mail on Sunday predicts 'Sir Alex Ferguson will make his first significant move towards claiming an unprecedented 20th Premier League title by trying to seal a £14million deal for Ashley Young this week.'
No hanging around then:
'The Manchester United manager is keen to wrap up his move for Young before the Aston Villa player is selected for England against Switzerland at Wembley on Saturday.'
Intriguingly, the paper continues by speculating that 'Young's arrival could lead to the departure of Nani, who is wanted by Serie A side Juventus.'
In turn, 'the move will strengthen Liverpool's efforts to sign Stewart Downing from Villa but he still has two years left on his contract and Villa are not budging from an £18m asking price.'
BARCA BACK IN FOR FABREGAS
No resting on their laurels at the Nou Camp either.
According to the Mail on Sunday, 'Barcelona will make a £30million bid for Cesc Fabregas this week after Arsenal moved for one of the Spanish club's talented youngsters.'
It seems unlikely to us that the transfer to England of 16-year-old full-back Hector Bellerin would be the real motivation behind another attempt to bring back Fabregas but the Mail says it has 'prompted Barcelona to step up their interest in long-term target Fabregas, another of their former academy products, and bring another summer of protracted negotiations.'
'The Spaniards will argue that Fabregas's value has fallen since they made a £35million bid last summer, even though he is under contract until 2014'.
BERBATOV RETURNING TO SPURS?
Somewhat inevitably, the exclusion of Dimi Berbatov from United's Champions League final squad has prompted renewed speculation that the Bulgarian will be departing Old Trafford this summer and the Metro reckons he could be returning to Tottenham.
'The north Londoners are in the market for a striker this summer and would consider bringing Berbatov back - but only if United's price was right,' it says. 'That could mean manager Harry Redknapp thrashing out a cut-price deal worth just £10million, given Berbatov will be out of contract next summer.'
REDKNAPP TO CHELSEA? AN 'IMPROVING' PROSPECT
Interesting stuff in the People once we've got through the faintly ludicrous claim that Chelsea would have to pay Tottenham £15m to hire Harry Redknapp as their next manager.
According to the paper's small print, the prospect of Redknapp moving to Stamford Bridge is 'increasing' because the pursuit of Guus Hiddink has hit 'major snags'.
'Shrewd Redknapp has his supporters at Stamford Bridge and could get the call to move across London in a stunning move if Hiddink stalls on quitting his Turkey job.
'Redknapp's chances of being approached by Chelsea have increased as former caretaker chief Hiddink decides whether or not to leave Turkey. However there is now a deadline on that decision.
'People Sport can reveal that Chelsea want a new boss in place within a fortnight. They have targets lined up and players who want their futures sorted - so they need an answer fast.'
BARTON FOR EVERTON?
Another interesting line in the People is that 'Joey Barton seems set to achieve his boyhood ambition of playing for Everton.'
Barton is reportedly available for £4m and The People says 'it will be a case of third time lucky for Blues' boss David Moyes, who has twice gone close to signing the Huyton-born England midfielder.'