Paper Round: Manchester United will pay £157m for Barcelona's Neymar
Manchester United will stump up Neymar's record buyout fee, while West Ham are wary of Real Madrid's interest in Dimitri Payet. It's Saturday's Paper Round.
Manchester United would pay £157m for Neymar
Barcelona's Brazilian forward Neymar (L) vies with Deportivo La Coruna's midfielder Alex Bergantinos during the Spanish league football match RC Deportivo de la Coruna vs FC Barcelona at the Municipal de Riazor stadium in La Coruna on April 20, 2016.AFP
Manchester United are planning to splash out the world’s biggest ever transfer fee to secure the services of Neymar – reports the Express. Barcelona forward Neymar has a clause in his contract that allows him to negotiate a transfer if a mammoth £157m fee is offered, and United are willing to stump up the cash to sign the Brazil international.
Paper Round's view: It’s hard to know where to start with this one. Neymar is a talented player, but is he worth the highest transfer fee of all time? The answer to that is pretty simple, particularly when his struggles in the second half of the season at Barcelona are taken into account. Concerns over attitude and work-rate have crept into the Brazilian’s game and, while he would no doubt be a success at United, it is far from certain that he would add enough to the Old Trafford side to turn them into title favourites with his mere presence. For £157m you should be getting a title challenge at the very least.
It's worth bearing in mind the fact that this story has been leaked by Neymar’s agent, which suggests that this may just be another case of the player’s camp trying to negotiate a new deal at Barca. However, if any record-breaking bids were to come in then it would surely tempt the Catalan club.
Dimitri Payet eyes Real Madrid move
Dimitri Payet AFP
West Ham are concerned that star midfielder Dimitri Payet will look to move to Real Madrid this summer following his eye-catching performances at Euro 2016 – reports The Sun. The France international has scored excellent goals in both of his country’s wins at the tournament so far, which has been enough to convince Real that he is a punt worth taking. Payet, 29, realistically has only one big move left in his career, but it would take a big bid to get him out of his club-record contract at West Ham.
Paper Round's view: The more stellar performances Payet puts in, the more he’s going to interest Europe’s biggest clubs. West Ham will do everything they can to keep their midfield star ahead of the club’s debut season at the Olympic Stadium, but the reality is that when Real Madrid come calling then few players can resist. Payet is not young and must surely have thought his chances of reaching the pinnacle of the game were gone, so who – other than any understandably disappointed Hammers fans – could begrudge the Frenchman a switch from east London to the Bernabeu?
Palace battle Stoke for £15m Berahino
Crystal Palace have joined Stoke in the struggle to sign West Brom striker Saido Berahino, says the Mirror. Stoke had already entered negotiations with the Baggies over Berahino after the forward rejected an extended contract to stay at the Hawthorns, but Palace are equally keen to sign the player. The England Under-21 striker has repeatedly been denied a departure from West Brom, with Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle both having bids over his current valuation of £15m turned down in previous transfer windows. Spurs is Berahino’s preferred destination, but the north London club are reportedly no longer interested in the player.
Paper Round's view: Berahino would be a brilliant signing for either Stoke or Palace. He’s an extremely talented striker, tactically versatile and with plenty of experience despite his young age. However, the Mirror’s suggestion that Spurs are no longer interested in Saido makes very little sense. The White Hart Lane club is clearly where the player himself wants to end up, while Mauricio Pochettino is in need of adding both a striker and a left-sided attacking option to his squad – two boxes that Berahino ticks. Throw in the fact that he’s English, a proven Premier League goalscorer and apparently worth £10m less than West Brom quoted a year ago and it would seem inevitable that Spurs are going to come back in for him.
Saints lose Wanyama to Spurs
Southampton's Victor Wanyama in action with Leicester City's Jamie Vardy Reuters
The Mirror is reporting that Tottenham have succeeded in their lengthy struggle to sign Victor Wanyama from Southampton. Former Celtic midfielder Wanyama downed tools at the start of last season as he attempt to force a transfer to either Spurs or north London rivals Arsenal (depending on which sources you believe). But the Kenyan midfielder has got his wish a year later after turning down an improved contract offer from the south coast club. Wanyama, who turns 25 next week, will cost around £11m, but Southampton aren’t interested in taking Ryan Mason or Nabil Bentaleb in part-exchange.
Paper Round's view: The emergence of Eric Dier as one of the Premier League’s standout holding midfielders came as a surprise to even the most insightful of Tottenham fans, but even the Englishman can’t manage to be an effective anchor in every single game over the course of another season. Wanyama would be the perfect edition to strengthen Tottenham’s midfield options, either as an alternative to Dier at the base of midfield or as a partner for the converted centre-back when Belgium international Mousa Dembele is in need of a rest. The only surprise in this story is that the fee is so low and that no other clubs seem to be interested.