The top stories making Sunday’s back pages in the UK…
The Sun: English football looks in a critical condition. Only NINE of 352 starters in the Champions League this week could play for the Three Lions bossed by Roy Hodgson.
Also: Louis van Gaal can turn Manchester United into the Premier League’s first half-billionaires.
And: Sepp Blatter’s right-hand man Jerome Valcke has been suspended by Fifa.
Daily Mirror: Arsene Wenger will carry on rotating his squad – even after Arsenal’s Champions League disaster in Zagreb.
Also: Sam Byram has been lined up for an £8million switch from Leeds to Swansea in the January transfer window.
And: Jose Mourinho is still facing a dressing-room battle with two of his biggest characters unsure of their Chelsea futures. John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic are both out of contract at the end of the season and fear they could be on their way out of Stamford Bridge.
Plus: Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright has slammed the club’s pursuit of Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema.
Daily Star: Manchester United will offer Luke Shaw counselling to help him recover from his horrific leg break.
Also: Arsene Wenger fears a nightmare journey could wreck Arsenal’s chances of beating Chelsea.
And: Steve McClaren has threatened to axe his misfiring Newcastle stars.
Daily Mail: For a time they looked like they couldn’t punch their way out of a paper carrier bag, let alone split Qarabag of Azerbaijan. Thankfully for Mauricio Pochettino, or not depending on how he might feel about the Europa League, Tottenham’s biggest buy from the summer sales woke up at just the right time.
Also: There were no smiles or fist pumping celebrations. The reaction in the away end was muted and the manager, after exchanging a few cursory handshakes, swiftly disappeared down the tunnel. Happiness was not the overriding emotion for Brendan Rodgers or Liverpool’s players but there was, without question, a sense of relief; this 1-1 draw will not feature anywhere on the list of the club’s best European results but at least it afforded the manager some respite.
Daily Express: Napoli forward Dries Mertens admits he would be open to a move to the Premier League, putting Liverpool on red alert.
Also: Iker Casillas says he “suffered” during the summer as his Real Madrid career came to a close.
And: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has revealed Jordan Henderson’s situation has not improved after he was sent to America for surgery.
Metro: Mesut Ozil could join boyhood club Fenerbahce if he decides to leave Arsenal at the end of the season, according to the player’s agent.
Also: Manchester United defender Luke Shaw is expected to have a second operation on his right leg tomorrow after sustaining a double fracture during the Red Devils’ Champions League clash with PSV Eindhoven, according to reports.
Daily Telegraph: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers understandably claimed the opening to the Europa league campaign in Bordeaux as such, despite a lament as how his side conceded a sloppy equaliser with ten minutes left.
Also: When Cesc Fabregas chipped the ball in for Diego Costa to volley Chelsea’s third goal against Maccabi Tel Aviv, it was the Spanish midfielder’s 200th career assist.
The Times: Fifa was engulfed in fresh turmoil yesterday when Jerome Valcke, the general secretary and number two in the organisation behind Sepp Blatter, was suspended following allegations over a deal for 2014 World Cup tickets.
Also: A reminder of individual talent followed by a return of a familiar collective frailty; no sooner had Adam Lallana’s brilliance offered Liverpool a route away from crisis than their defensive shortcomings resurfaced to close that path down.
The Guardian: The union that represents footballers around the world will on Friday launch a landmark legal action against Fifa in the hope of outlawing the transfer system and fundamentally changing the professional game.
Also: Football’s crisis-hit world governing body has dramatically released its secretary general, Jérôme Valcke, Sepp Blatter’s right-hand man since 2007, from his duties “until further notice” in the wake of allegations involving the resale of World Cup tickets.
The Independent: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers’ Europa League gamble almost paid off as the club’s young guns were held to a 1-1 draw in Bordeaux.
Also: The Football Association is investigating a complaint that Jose Mourinho used abusive, sexist language towards former team doctor Eva Carneiro during Chelsea’s Premier League game against Swansea City.