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MANCHESTER UNITED boss Sir Alex Ferguson is poised for an unprecedented £100million-plus summer transfer buying campaign.
The 69-year-old is determined to leave the club in robust health once he decides to retire with a young talented squad capable of winning more trophies.
Despite going to Liverpool today with a team that is the bookies' favourite to win him a record breaking 19th title, Sir Alex know that surgery is needed in the summer if United are to maintain their high standards of the past decades.
It's why he is ready to use the chequebook once the next transfer window opens.
United lead the chase for Tottenham ace Gareth Bale and will open up with a £30m offer. Aston Villa's Ashley Young is bound for Old Trafford for £20m, after Ferguson narrowly missed out on snapping him up in January.
Sunderland midfielder Jordan Henderson is another likely capture for £15m, though Michael Carrick could be included in the deal despite having recently signed a new contract. United are in for Everton's emerging star Jack Rodwell too.
Sir Alex Ferguson is poised for an unprecedented £100million-plus summer transfer buying campaign
The parlous state of the Goodison finances means the board would be hard-pressed to reject a £20m offer for Rodwell, especially with Arsenal also expressing an interest.
Ferguson has also told Southampton that he will beat any offer or personal terms for exciting teenage winger Alex Chamberlain, meaning the Saints flyer is likely to land at United for around £10m.
And with United also intent on spending at least £10m on a top-line keeper at the end of the season to replace the retiring Edwin van der Sar, Ferguson is committed to a summer outlay of more than £100m.
EVERTON boss David Moyes is a shock target for wealthy German club Hoffenheim.
Moyes tops a shortlist of candidates for the manager's job at the ambitious Bundesliga outfit, who are looking to recruit in the summer.
Hoffenheim's owner Dietmar Hopp is among the richest men in Europe and could find it easy to lure Moyes, increasingly disillusioned at the lack of transfer funds on Merseyside.
Coach Ralf Rangnick quit Hoffenheim in January over the sale of Brazilian midfielder Luiz Gustavo to Bayern Munich and the club appointed his deputy Marco Pezzaiuoli as his replacement. But they want a bigger name.
MANCHESTER CITY are set to hijack Man United's planned summer swoop for Everton starlet Jack Rodwell and they could have to pay £30m for the Goodison midfielder.
Everton don't want to cash in on midfielder Jack Rodwell, 19, and have slapped an astonishing £30million price tag on his head.
And that's where mega-rich City could hijack any summer move, with Mancini a big Rodwell fan.
Mancini was hugely impressed by the kid in Everton's 2-0 victory at City last March.
Rodwell (below) played superbly and made a mug of City defender Vincent Kompany in making the second goal.
No official City move has been lodged with Everton but the club are well aware of major interest from United and now Arsenal.
Arsene Wenger wants to pair Rodwell with fellow England starlet Jack Wilshere.
But United are favourites, with Sir Alex Ferguson revealing that he wanted a player - believed to be Rodwell - in January, but the club wouldn't do business.
Everton boss David Moyes is adamant Rodwell won't leave Goodison for less than £30m.
That could be too much for Arsenal and United but not oil-rich City.
DAVID MOYES' horse Desert Cry came in second at Kelso - but his Everton side put a bigger smile on his face with a long-overdue win on Tyneside.
And the mercurial Mikel Arteta was their key man as he set up the goal which sparked a swift fightback that ended with their first League win here since 2000.
It hadn't been Everton's week. They were knocked out of the FA Cup at home by Championship side Reading, then learned that midfielder Marouane Fellaini will miss the rest of the season with an ankle ligament injury.
Everton No. 2 Steve Round said: "It was just the response we wanted.
"Mikel was outstanding. He was creative, elusive and his work ethic was tremendous.''
Leon Best's sixth goal of the season gave Newcastle a 23rd-minute lead.
But Newcastle's joy was short-lived as midfielder Leon Osman and defender Phil Jagielka turned the game on its head in the space of four minutes.
The second-half introduction of Everton striker Victor Anichebe sparked a confrontation when he clashed off the ball with old adversary Kevin Nolan.
It was disclosed this week that Anichebe had settled out of court with Newcastle after suing over a tackle by the Toon skipper that left him sidelined for nearly a year after Everton's last visit here two seasons ago.
But the 75th-minute incident, which saw referee Howard Webb book both players, showed there's still plenty of bad blood between them.
Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton was still out with a thigh injury after missing last week's 1-1 home draw with Bolton.
And with Ryan Taylor banned after his red card in that match, it was full-back Danny Simpson who was asked to fill Barton's right-sided midfield role.
Arteta created Everton's first real chance in the 17th minute when he cut in from the left to hit an edge-of-box effort that Steve Harper tipped over one-handed.
But it was Newcastle who took the lead on 23 minutes. Centre-back Mike Williamson set up Nolan whose shot was parried by keeper Tim Howard and Best stooped to head his third goal in the last five games.
Everton levelled just after the half-hour. Osman started and finished the move, finding Arteta who played a superb return ball that Osman coolly rolled home.
And they struck again on 35 minutes when Leighton Baines whipped in a low free-kick from the left and Jagielka steered the ball in off the underside of the bar.
To add to Newcastle's problems, left-back Jose Enrique was forced off and striker Shola Ameobi - wearing a protective mask on his return after a month out with a fractured cheekbone - came on in a reshuffled line-up.
Newcastle were under pressure again after the break with Arteta continuing to pull the strings for Everton.
The Spaniard combined with Osman, who found Jermaine Beckford - and only Harper's reflexes kept him out.
Arteta then set up ex-Newcastle loanee Louis Saha, who should have done better than head over.
And Saha could have killed the game off when Arteta laid a chance on a plate.
Best headed in what looked like an equaliser for Newcastle late on but his needless push saw it ruled out.
Newcastle are now only six points off a relegation place but boss Alan Pardew said: "I'm not looking over my shoulder.
"But you can't play at this level and lose quality players like Joey Barton, Stephen Ireland and Nile Ranger.
"It was too many."
NEWCASTLE United owner Mike Ashley loves a gamble. But his latest £35million punt has left the Toon Army's nerves jangling.
While Andy Carroll - sold for a king's ransom minutes before the deadline - prepares to make his Liverpool entrance today, the team he left behind can't guarantee their Premier League safety.
Unable to bring in any attacking replacements the Geordies are operating on a wing and a prayer, Jonas Gutierrez supplying the width and eternal hope in the penalty area from a sub-standard unit.
Everton, inspired by Mikel Arteta, laid bare Newcastle's paucity in so many areas by dominating large chunks of the game and should have won at a canter.
At least they were able to rinse the shock midweek FA Cup defeat against Reading out of their system with a lightning two-goal strike from Leon Osman and Phil Jagielka, despite going behind to a Leon Best header.
If there was any criticism from Everton boss David Moyes it would have been over the succession of chances they wasted - enough to have won three or four games, never mind one.
Everton, inspired by Mikel Arteta, laid bare Newcastle's paucity in so many areas.
Newcastle once again had short-changed another magnificent 50,000-plus crowd who keep coming back for more, despite seeing their owner cash in on his big asset.
Newcastle's goal had only served to light the blue touch paper for a dramatic response from Moyes' side who had been startled by Best's opportunist opener.
Everton, determined to erase the memory of the midweek FA Cup humbling, had begun with plenty of craft and urgency.
With the majestic Arteta pulling the strings they had called the early shots. Arteta himself had gone close cutting in from the left to force Steve Harper into a fine save, arching backwards to tip over the bar.
From an Arteta corner, Osman should have done better than to head wide from inside the six-yard box. With the Geordies overrun in midfield it was Jack Rodwell's turn to cause problems with a fierce effort which flew wide. Cue their surprise when Newcastle took the lead with their first hint of any menace.
A quick free-kick from Fabricio Coloccini was worked via Gutierrez and Mike Williamson to Kevin Nolan and his cross, despite a flailing arm from keeper Tim Howard, was headed in at the far post by Best.
It was Best's sixth goal of the season as he attempts to help fill the gaping hole left by Carroll's departure. Knowing frugal owner Ashley, he might have thought about buying some cheap bags of cement first. Everton's dismay wasn't to last long, two sharply taken goals in a five-minute spell giving them the half-time lead they deserved.
Osman had so much space to run at Newcastle's back-peddling defence that it was a good job he didn't suffer from agoraphobia. He found Arteta completely free on the edge of the box for the Spaniard to repeat the favour, Osman firing low into the net through Jose Enrique's legs.
Worse was to follow for Newcastle as a Leighton Baines free-kick invited a succession of Everton players to apply the final killing touch. It was Jagielka who obliged prodding in against the underside of the bar.
There was plenty of hard work ahead for Newcastle if they were going to pull this one out of the fire especially when they lost the influential Jose Enrique to injury.
Enter the man in the mask, Ameobi, playing his first game since fracturing his cheekbone.
He twice forced Howard into action shortly after the break but it was still Everton who carried the greater venom on the break with Arteta the most influential performer on the pitch.
Jermaine Beckford, turning neatly on an Osman ball, brought the best out of Harper, while Louis Saha should have buried a close-range header.
Newcastle huffed and puffed as Beckford had a header disallowed for a push - but there was no belief on or off the pitch.
Everton's players had a point to make after their midweek FA Cup exit against Reading, while the memory that spurred on Victor Anichebe stretched back to 2009.
Two years ago, Anichebe's season ended here after an over-the-top tackle by Kevin Nolan that earned the Newcastle captain a red card. Nolan was sued by Anichebe for loss of earnings, a case that was settled out of court in midweek, but it was not the final word in their feud.
Shortly after going on as a substitute, the Everton striker bumped into Nolan when the ball was yards away and they stood toe-to-toe until the referee, Howard Webb, stepped in and booked both of them. They also exchanged words after Anichebe's strong challenge on Nolan in the final seconds.
Alan Pardew, the Newcastle manager, described it as "much ado about nothing", and Steve Round, the Everton coach, insisted: "I didn't really think anything of it. It was the coming together of two players which happens in games. I thought the referee handled it exceptionally well, telling them to calm and get on with the game."
At least Anichebe had the satisfaction of helping Everton emerge on top. Everton needed this success after their Cup exit and it was hard-earned having gone behind to a Leon Best header. With Mikel Arteta controlling affairs from the left of their midfield, Everton hit back through Leon Osman and Phil Jagielka before half-time. Round said: "It was the response we wanted after midweek. We needed to bounce back, the players felt they had let down the supporters and the football club. The players were very low and most of the motivation came from them. They were determined to put it right, really determined to show the true Everton and get a win."
Pardew was forced to play full-back Danny Simpson in midfield because of the absence of Joey Barton and Stephen Ireland through injuries and the suspension of Ryan Taylor. Simpson never looked at home in his new role and was missing when Arteta produced the first hint of a goal after 17 minutes when he was allowed to cut inside and unleash a shot that was turned over by Steve Harper. It was an encouraging start by Everton who had injury problems of their own with Tim Cahill and Marouane Fellaini, two crucial elements of their team. among their absentees.
Their defensive failings surfaced again, however, in the 23rd minute as Newcastle went ahead. Mike Williamson, allowed too much room inside, set up Nolan for an angled shot that was saved by goalkeeper Tim Howard, but left Best with an easy task to stoop and head in his sixth goal of the season.
Everton were level within eight minutes with a goal that exposed the right flank of Newcastle where Steven Taylor had been drafted in at right back. Arteta was able to send in a low cross that Osman steered in with the assistance of a slight deflection off Jose Enrique. And they were ahead inside another five minutes when Jagielka arrived at the far post to claim his first goal of the season after Newcastle failed to deal with Leighton Baines' excellent free kick.
Shola Ameobi, on for the injured Enrique, gave Newcastle a cutting edge at the start of the second half and forced Howard to save twice in quick succession. But Everton looked sharper and more inventive, with Harper having to save twice from Jermaine Beckford and Louis Saha squandering a good opportunity from another Arteta cross.
Pardew said: "When we took the lead we looked comfortable and our left side was causing them a lot of problems but we got caught twice and then it was going to be an uphill task, especially when Enrique got injured as well, that unbalanced us a bit."
While the words of David Moyes tried to play down Everton's disastrous FA Cup exit to Reading, his face told a very different story.
The Goodison boss knows he faces a stark choice as the reality of his current problems are laid bare.
Unless he finds a top-class striker, his side will always be undermined - even if they do have the quality to beat sides like Chelsea.
But to find the £20million or so it will take to recruit the player, or players, he so desperately needs, he will have to sell a member of his current squad.
In all reality, perhaps only two current Everton players would command that sort of fee.
One is Marouane Fellaini, who is now out until the summer with an ankle injury but, when fit, is crucial to the performance of the current team.
The other is Jack Rodwell.
Moyes does not want to sell the teenage midfield prodigy, but with the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Real Madrid interested in the 19-year-old's immense potential, Rodwell could command a fee well in excess of £20million - just as Wayne Rooney did when he left Goodison.
And while Rodwell has rich promise, he is not yet remotely central to the operation of the Everton team, in the way Fellaini is.
Indeed, Rodwell is still a peripheral player who has yet to prove he will fulfil his massive talent.
Selling him would be devastating, but only to the psychology of the club, not the function of the team.
Indeed, it would raise the funds to take Everton forward - as Rooney's sale to Manchester United did six years ago.
It would be a massive gamble, and an almost nuclear option Moyes would prefer not to employ, but if it gives him the players he needs to turn Everton's own rich promise into tangible results, it may just be the only option.
The Blues' boss attempted to present a measured, calm response to the calamitous home defeat by Championship side Reading, which has extinguished the last hope of honours - and honour - this season, and asks some serious questions about the direction of the club.
But beneath the calm exterior, Moyes was simmering close to boiling point.
His mood was betrayed by his gaze, which had the wide-eyed look of someone close to the edge.
It's little wonder, given the exasperating schizophrenia his side have shown this season.
How can a side that won so magnificently and courageously at Chelsea in the previous round surrender so limply to Reading?
How can a side who outfought the champions - and did a similar number on Manchester United and Arsenal this season - be bossed by a Reading side hardly renowned for their physical approach?
It defies belief, and clearly Moyes was disbelieving last night.
Privately, he suggested he didn't want to say anything he would later regret, but equally, he also seems close to the point of accepting major changes are required to his squad, because they have been given too many second, third and fourth chances this season... and failed to take each one.
"I know there are still situations where we are not good enough to win lots of games, and I know that is not going away, even if there have been signs we are getting better," he said.
"We were short in quality , and that has been evident this season. It is something we have been aware of, and something that has remained even when we have had good results."
Moyes is thinking specifically of the lack of strength or depth in his strike-force. He can get away without a killer in front of goal against sides such as Chelsea, because a different type of game is required.
But when the likes of Reading have come to Goodison and stuck men behind the ball, it has led to frustration as Everton simply don't have the means to break open the wall built in front of them.
Moyes pleaded for a top class-striker in the summer, but the current stark financial situation facing most Premier League clubs ruled that out - and the same will apply this summer.
Which leaves Rodwell as the likely answer to his problems.