Saido Berahino will probably be sold by deadline day, while Aston Villa missed out on a striker. That and more from the Monday papers.
Three clubs after Berahino
Saido Berahino is almost certainly on the way out of West Brom. It's just a matter of where he goes. The Mirror understand that Newcastle, Stoke and Tottenham are all in a race for the striker, with a deal of up to £25m likely to get done before the transfer deadline closes. West Brom have already turned down a £21m bid from Newcastle, but they are willing to offer even more, while the other two clubs are circling for late bids of their own.
Paper Round's view - It's almost impossible to envision Berahino joining Tottenham. The bad blood between West Brom and Spurs' chairmen will keep that deal from getting done, but the Baggies could sell him to Newcastle or Stoke, and they should. He's out of favour at West Brom and his contract expires in 18 months so their leverage will only decline from here - the fact they have already rejected a £21m bid for a player who has been effectively frozen out of the first team shows the strength of their hand, but the Baggies must be careful not to overplay it.
Aston Villa tried to sign former Swansea ace Michu, but The Sun say that the striker turned them down. Michu is with UP Langreo in the Spanish fourth division, where his brother Hernan is the manager, as he tries to get fit following 14 months out with an ankle injury. Michu has decided that instead of moving now, he will wait until the summer for a transfer to a bigger club.
Image credit: PA Photos
Paper Round's view - That Villa went for Michu shows a certain desperation - that they failed to get him... Michu has only been back in Spain for a couple months after leaving Swansea. Right now, all that really matters is that he plays regularly and gets his form back. Doing so with his brother as manager is a bonus and makes life easy for him. If he can finish the season fit and having found his goal scoring touch again, he'll have plenty of offers and will be in a better place to get a good move to a club where he can succeed.
Dwight Gayle isn't going to Swansea after all. The Mail claim that Leicester are going to beat the Swans to the Crystal Palace striker. Gayle is out of favour at Palace and is set for a move away from the club. It looked like he would go to Swansea, but now Leicester are preparing a £7m bid for the striker. The only thing holding up a move now is a hamstring injury that Gayle suffered in training, but if he is cleared then the Foxes will submit their bid.
Image credit: PA Sport
Paper Round's view - Leicester appear to be looking anywhere and everywhere for a striker. They're weary of the pressure being put on Jamie Vardy and want to have some other options so ease the burden on their star. Gayle isn't a great player by any means, but they can afford £7m and getting necessary depth for a title challenge should be a priority for them.
Seydou Doumbia will join Newcastle from CSKA Moscow for the remainder of the season, according to The Telegraph. Aston Villa were doing all they could to sign the striker from Roma, with Remi Garde calling him his top target for the winter, but Doumbia snubbed the Birmingham club. Instead, he was on Tyneside getting ready to sign on for the rest of the campaign.
Seydou Doumbia (CSKA Moscou)
Image credit: AFP
Paper Round's view - Aston Villa's position in the table makes it tough for them to sign players. Everyone expects them to be relegated after the season and few players want to sign up for that. Newcastle are also in the relegation fight, but at least they have a decent chance of staying up. Doumbia wants to have something to play for, and Garde might find himself in this position a couple more times before the transfer window shuts.
Middlesbrough have decided not to buy Jordan Rhodes, per The Sun. Blackburn had agreed to a £13m deal that would send the striker to Boro. Rhodes had even taken a medical and agreed to wages with Boro, but chairman Steve Gibson changed his mind and no longer wants the striker, or at least not at that price. Now Rhodes is heading back to Blackburn with no move in sight.
Image credit: PA Sport
Paper Round's view - There's reason for Boro to not want the Rhodes deal - price, their success without him - but it's bizarre to see them pull out of a transfer a day after everything was agreed to. What made Gibson change his mind at that point? Boro should earn promotion even without Rhodes, but they could use him in the Premier League next season.