Press Watch: Selling Vieira seen as only hope of funding Wenger's transfer plans

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The Independent Football

Arsenal are ready to stun their supporters by offloading Patrick Vieira to fund Arséne Wenger's team rebuilding plans, according to the Sunday Express, which reckons Wenger himself is behind the plan.

The Arsenal manager has only £10m in his transfer kitty yet wants to sign Leeds pair Harry Kewell and Paul Robinson plus the Juventus striker David Trezeguet as well as a top-class central defender. The Express says Wenger feels selling his skipper is the only way to raise the cash and has let it be known that bids of around £25m will be entertained, but would not consider selling to a rival Premiership club.

The News of the World claims Arsenal are ready to trade Ray Parlour, Francis Jeffers, plus £7m to land Kewell and Robinson. The Mirror says goalkeeper Robinson is also being sought by Aston Villa, with ex-Leeds manager David O'Leary prepared to offer unwanted striker Peter Crouch as part of a £5m deal. Meanwhile, the Mirror says Villa striker Juan-Pablo Angel is close to joining Real Betis. Liverpool are lining up a move for highly-rated Sporting Lisbon teenager Christiano Ronaldo, according to the People.

Sporting wanted £10m for the 18-year-old winger last season but may be prepared to accept £6m after failing to qualify for the Champions League. The Express says Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is also an admirer. The Sunday Mirror, meanwhile, claims Auxerre's France international centre-half Jean-Alain Boumsong is keeping Liverpool waiting before deciding whether to move to Anfield.

Middlesbrough are "95 per cent" certain of landing Sunderland striker Kevin Phillips for a downpayment of £2.5m, the People says, revealing that the Riverside club may make a shock move to bring back former favourite Emerson after admitting defeat in their attempts to sign Geremi from Real Madrid. But the News of the World reckons Boro must offload either Szilard Nemeth or Massimo Maccarone before the Phillips move can progress.

While the Beckham saga drags on, Manchester United's hopes of landing Brazilian striker Ronaldinho are being fiercely challenged by Newcastle, according to the Sunday Mirror. That paper believes the Tyneside club will improve their bid by offering a £13m deal made up of Laurent Robert plus cash to Paris St Germain, and offer the player a four-year deal worth £8m.

The People says transfer-listed midfielder Clarence Acuna could move to Leeds as makeweight in a deal to take Michael Bridges to Newcastle.

According to the Mirror, Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd dismissed claims of a £4.5m deal with Tottenham for defender Stephen Carr as "total fantasy". The News of the World says Newcastle have made a £2.25m bid for Rennes striker Frederic Piquionne.

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