Newspaper headlines: EU deal analysis and Pep Guardiola's Manchester City job
Papers anticipate the drawn-out renegotiation of the UK's relationship with the European Union is about to end in a deal for David Cameron.
However, there is no consensus as to whether the prime minister has secured what he - or the country - wants. The Daily Telegraph's front-page lead suggests a deal allowing British MPs to join forces with other national parliaments to block laws passed in Brussels will pave the way for Mr Cameron to call a referendum on Britain's continued membership of the EU in June.
The Sun sees a victory for the PM, explaining that a simple majority of national parliaments would be able to "club together to over-rule Brussels" under the deal. "I've Camerwon," says its headline. But Daily Mail columnist Richard Littlejohn argues that getting half the other countries in the EU on board "isn't going to happen", adding: "This so-called 'triumph' is as worthless as the assurance Chamberlain received from Hitler".
Mr Cameron could be handed a "blank sheet of paper" and still hail it as a major success, complains the Daily Mirror. Even then, the Times reports, the European Commission - which draws up European laws - has warned Mr Cameron against rushing to claim victory. It quotes a spokesman saying: "Nothing is obviously agreed until everything is agreed." The proposal must be approved by all 28 member states, another source tells the paper.
The Financial Times lists four key demands that have fallen by the wayside - over repatriation of employment law, amending the working time directive, a "full-on" treaty change and a new human rights charter. And it says their omission could break the "uneasy truce" over Europe within Mr Cameron's party. Telegraph cartoonist Matt agrees that Conservative MPs won't be so thrilled by the concessions. It imagines one looking in a mirror while telling his wife: "I'm practising my surprised face for when the PM comes back with an EU deal."
Ross Clark writes in the Daily Express that the process was a "sham all along", saying that the PM's meetings this week with Donald Tusk - president of the European Council that represents EU leaders - were "nothing more than stage-management, calculated so that either side can go home and convince their doubters that they worked to the last moment to get the best possible deal".
One of Mr Cameron's MEPs, the Eurosceptic Daniel Hannan, agrees that it's all "bogus", with "nothing serious" - such as an "emergency brake" on migration even being demanded. "This is not a real battle. It is more like a haka before a rugby game," he writes in the Sun. The paper mocks up a photo of the PM beating his chest in an All Blacks strip to illustrate the point.
- "Servers keep their cool at bottom of sea" - the Times explains how Microsoft has tested an underwater data centre in a bid to save on the cost of cooling its computer equipment
- "After easyJet, it's easyFood - where everything's 25p!" - budget airline founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou is to take on cut-price supermarkets, reports the Daily Mail
- "Is the storey over for the bungalow?" - the preference of developers for building lucrative flats could mean Britain's last low-rise homes being built in 2020, according to the Daily Express
- "£5m in taxpayer cash for biggest companies to change lightbulbs" - the Daily Telegraph says the government is using financial incentives to encourage profitable firms to improve energy efficiency
As another football transfer deadline day fizzled out without any earth-shattering on-field signings, it's Manchester City's announcement that Pep Guardiola will take over as manager in the summer that makes all the headlines.
For the Times, securing the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss is simply the "greatest deadline day signing ever". Both the Mirror and Mail offer variations on the theme that it's a "changing of the Guard", noting that current boss Manuel Pellegrini will leave with his record unblemished.
The Telegraph's Jason Burt says the arrival of Guardiola offers City the chance to move "to the next level... serial winners and a European and global superpower". He argues: "Players will now want to join City because of Guardiola."
The paper even imagines how his side might line up, positioning Everton's John Stones, Bayern's David Alaba and Juventus star Paul Pogba in the starting XI, with Ballon D'Or winner Lionel Messi the £120m jewel in the crown. According to the Sun, however, the Sky Blues are set for a "£75million fight" with Real Madrid for Bayern's Polish star Robert Lewandowski.
Before City fans start celebrating future silverware, the Guardian's Jonathan Wilson sounds a warning note: "The biggest question is whether Guardiola can sustain the intensity of his football over a full English season." The Spaniard must, the writer argues, "realise City's dream of a place in the European elite to secure his legacy".
The Express, meanwhile, looks at the future of Pellegrini and says he "could be in line for a shock switch to Chelsea" after his current employers headed off the London club's bid to hijack their move for Guardiola.
What the commentators say
Warnings about the possibility of a merger between mobile networks O2 and Three appear in some papers, ahead of an expected ruling on the plans by the European Commission. Nils Pratley in the Guardian says the potential reduction in the number of UK networks from four to three "would damage competition and leave consumers poorer".
"In Austria, which underwent a similar four-to-three consolidation, mobile prices have risen 15%, with light users - often, the young and the old - suffering steeper increases," he says.
The Independent fears an echo of what's happened in other sectors. Its editorial argues: "Banking is an oligopoly of four; energy a marketplace of only six. The toll paid by consumers and businesses has been heavy." But it has faith in the "steely" European competition watchdog Margrethe Vestager to "scupper the merger".
Meanwhile, the Financial Times reckons a block on the merger would not hurt the firms' profits. "Three is an excellent example of how competition can both spur and reward fresh thinking. Created explicitly as an additional operator in 2000 to hold prices down, it has built a profitable business by innovating.
"Three was among the first operators to spot the importance of the smartphone and to design products and tariffs to support its take-up and expansion. It was alone in offering customers and upgrade to 4G without charge. Regulation needs to preserve these incentives, not smother them."
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