Premier League – Paper Round: Chelsea ready to pay £40 million for Valencia’s David Villa

First day of the year, first day of the new transfer window – and the first big move looks likely to come from Chelsea.

The Daily Express reports that Roman Abramovich is set to dip his hands into his pockets to bring David Villa to Stamford Bridge.

It won’t be cheap though: the Express claims that the Blues have put together a “mind-boggling” package deal for the Valencia forward, one which would cost them £10 million a year in wages on top of the £40m transfer fee.

That would make Villa the highest-paid player in the Premier League – and Chelsea are reportedly willing to give up the chase for Sergio Aguero to make sure they get their man.

Aguero’s Atletico Madrid team-mate Maxi Rodriguez could be on his way to Liverpool, meanwhile, with the Daily Express claiming that Rafael Benitez is trying to hammer out a loan deal for the Argentine star.

New Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini is already showing the same sort of transfer ambition as Mark Hughes demonstrated in the chase of Kaka this time last year – and given the target he’s chosen, it looks set to end the same way.

The Daily Mirror says City are readying a move for Barcelona striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the player that Barca brought in during the summer from Internazionale at a cost of Samuel Eto’o plus a reported £35m.

But with Ibra having already notched 11 Liga goals in 13 matches, Barca are about as likely to let the Swedish hitman go as they are to bulldoze the Nou Camp and start playing their matches in the local park.

Speaking of Manchester City, all the papers carry news that their goalkeeper Joe Hart will not be allowed to make his loan move to Birmingham City a permanent switch, while the Daily Star claims that City are balking at the thought of paying cash-strapped Crystal Palace £3m for 19-year-old wonder-winger Victor Moses.

Palace may also lose their manager as well as their star player, incidentally, with several papers reporting that Eagles boss Neil Warnock is the front-runner for the vacancy at Bolton Wanderers.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger makes a couple of appearances in the morning’s papers, most memorably in The Sun, whose art desk have done a fantastic job of rendering him as Harry Potter (with Alex Ferguson and Carlo Ancelotti also wizarded-up).

But the Daily Mail has another story, with Wenger apparently having agreed a £3.5m deal to bring Brazilian 16-year-old Wellington to the Emirates stadium. The Fluminense player cannot join up with the Gunners until he turns 18 in January 2011, but agent Rodrigo Pitt claims that his man is “already Arsenal’s”.

Elsewhere, Aston Villa are considering rescuing James Beattie from the cauldron of hot water he’s got himself into at Stoke (Daily Mail) while Newcastle are upping the ante in their chase of Leeds striker Jermaine Beckford, and are prepared to pay up to £2m to get their man this month (The Sun) after having an initial £1.25m bid rejected.

And over on the continent Franck Ribery‘s mooted £49m summer move from Bayern Munich to Real Madrid has been sending Germany into a spin, with Bayern’s general manager denying reports that the deal has already been agreed.

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