Press Watch: Rumour mill suggests Chelsea are chasing Roma's central defender Samuel

'The next Rooney' is attracting Manchester United
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The Independent Football

Chelsea's new target, according to the News of the World's latest spy reports, is the 25-year-old Roma centre-half Walter Samuel, the Argentina international said to have been identified as the successor to Marcel Desailly at the heart of the defence, although the People claims the Brazilian central defender Lucio, a long-touted potential signing, is set to move to Stamford Bridge from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer for £9m.

The same paper reckons Chelsea and Manchester United are locked in a £5m battle for 18-year-old Luke Moore, the up-and-coming Aston Villa striker some judges believe to be as good as Wayne Rooney.

The Mail on Sunday says that Chelsea will miss out, however, on the PSV Eindhoven striker Arjen Robben, quoting the player's father as saying that his son is not interested in Chelsea or Real Madrid and would leave PSV only to join Manchester United.

Meanwhile, the News of the World claims that the Real Betis winger Joaquin says he is poised for a £14m summer move to Old Trafford, and the People says the Ajax defender Hatem Trabelsi is set to join United for £4m.

Charlton Athletic, who are said to have £16m to spend following the sale of Scott Parker to Chelsea, are linked with the Sheffield United midfielder Michael Tonge according to the News of the World.

The Sunday Mirror puts Charlton and Tottenham in competition for West Ham United's Michael Carrick should the Hammers fail to regain their Premiership place.

The People reckons Tottenham and West Ham are looking at the Yeovil goalkeeper Chris Weale and names Bolton's Jay-Jay Okocha as another Tottenham target.

Liverpool are watching the progress of the 18-year-old Newcastle centre-half Steven Taylor, according to the Sunday Express, while the People claims the Liverpool manager, Gérard Houllier, will be monitoring Owen Hargreaves's form until the end of the Bundesliga season before considering a summer move for Bayern Munich's England midfielder. Stuttgart are said by the same paper to be ready to swoop should Liverpool's Dietmar Hamann decide he wants to return to Germany.

The News of the World says the Southampton manager, Gordon Strachan, has recommended that his successor makes a £5m bid for the Fulham midfielder Steed Malbranque, whom he rates among the best players in the Premiership.

Paul Sturrock, currently in charge at Plymouth, is the latest name mooted in connection with Strachan's job, the People claiming that the Scot is Southampton's new wanted man. Wigan want to complete a £400,000 deal for the Saints full-back Chris Baird, according to the People, while the News of the World names the Wigan centre-half Matt Jackson as a target for Queen's Park Rangers.

According to the News of the World, the Portsmouth manager, Harry Redknapp, may offer Sasa Curcic the chance to resurrect his Premiership career, even though the 32-year-old former Aston Villa and Bolton midfielder has been out of the game for four years. The Express says Atletico Madrid may offer a route out of Craven Cottage for Fulham's unsettled goalkeeper Edwin van der Saar.

Glenn Hoddle is the popular tip to succeed sacked Paul Hart at Nottingham Forest, although the People throws the name of Nigel Clough into the ring and the Mirror says the former Forest hero Trevor Francis will be a rival to Hoddle. The Mirror still suggests Hart may land on his feet by becoming the next permanent Leeds manager.

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