Round-up of national football headlines including Bradford City, Aston Villa, Arsenal, Chelsea and Man United
DAILY MAIL: Phil Parkinson saluted his Bradford City giant-killers last night and backed them to become the first fourth-tier team to reach a major cup final in 50 years. Also: Arsenal will this week make an improved offer of £25million to Theo Walcott in a bid to resolve his contract saga. Former England captain David Beckham has been offered a two-year deal to join the Qatar Stars League.
THE TIMES: Rafael Benitez warned Chelsea’s senior players last night that they must face up to the prospect of their inevitable departures from Stamford Bridge. Also: This was another glorious night for Bradford City. The job is only half-done, with another 90 minutes to see if they can become the first fourth-tier club to reach the League Cup final in more than half a century, but it remains to be seen how much fight Aston Villa’s youngsters will have left in them after an experience as chastening as this.
DAILY EXPRESS: Frank Lampard is agonising over whether to break Chelsea hearts by signing for Manchester United this summer. Also: Pressure was heaped on the head of Paul Lambert last night as Aston Villa dramatically lost the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final at Valley Parade.
THE SUN: Bradford humiliated Aston Villa last night - and are on the verge of becoming the first fourth-tier team to reach a big Wembley final. Also: Arsenal will make a £26million offer to keep Theo Walcott...David Beckham has been offered a bumper two-year deal to join the Qatar Stars League. Swansea boss Michael Laudrup wants Stoke striker Kenwyne Jones, 28, to replace Danny Graham, who is being chased by Reading and Sunderland.
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: This was a classic cup tie, a gem of a game containing a performance of great vibrancy and belief from League Two’s Bradford City that will long linger long in their fans’ memory. Also: Rafael Benitez has given the clearest signal yet that Chelsea’s old guard will be jettisoned as he praised the club’s “legends” for their service but insisted that new blood was essential to bring more silverware to Stamford Bridge. Arsenal will this week make an improved five-year offer of £25m to Theo Walcott in a bid to resolve the 23-year-old forward’s contract saga. Rafael Benitez has warned Chelsea’s senior players that they must face up to the prospect of their inevitable departures from Stamford Bridge.
DAILY MIRROR: Theo Walcott will be presented with a stunning £25million five-year contract by Arsenal. Also: League Two Bradford stunned Villa to put Wembley within tantalising reach.
DAILY STAR: Rio Ferdinand is willing to turn his back on a £10m fortune and pledge his future to Manchester United instead. Also: Nakhi Wells helped put Bradford a step closer to an amazing Capital One Cup Final appearance with a goal dedicated to a boyhood pal...Ryan Nelsen was yesterday named as the new boss of Toronto - despite still being a QPR player.
THE INDEPENDENT: Rafa Benitez told Chelsea fans today they must accept that the “legends” of Stamford Bridge have to be moved on as the club prepares to bid farewell to many of the players who have been a key part of their most successful period ever. Also: Not since 1911 have Bradford had a night like this. Not for more than 100 years has a small outpost in Yorkshire experienced such delight.
THE GUARDIAN: Bradford City - skint in League Two, on a journey that has taken them close to financial ruin and fielding a side here that cost the grand total of £7,500 - are close to producing one of the great cup stories of the modern era.