Paper Round: Paris Saint-Germain want Arsene Wenger, Arsenal want Dimtri Payet
Paris Saint-Germain hope to secure Arsene Wenger's services next season, while Gooners everywhere cross their fingers about Dimitri Payet. It's Thursday's Paper Round.
PSG swoop for Wenger...
The Sun reports that Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain are planning to make a move for Arsene Wenger, hoping to nab him after his contract at Arsenal expires this summer. The Sun claims Wenger has resisted two attempts made by PSG in the last five years. However, as a close friend of chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi, who is also the chief executive of Qatari sports channel beIN Sports with whom Wenger has a punditry role, the club are said to be quietly confident they can lure him away.
Paper Round’s view: There's no doubt that Arsene Wenger is widely thought to be not long for North London, but the notion that he's suddenly decided the level of scrutiny in the Premier League is more than he can endure seems a bit of a stretch - if Wenger has proven one thing during his time at Arsenal is that he's got thicker skin than a rhino's behind.
PSG are a pretty unforgiving bunch, it seems, having sacked Laurent Blanc in the summer despite winning the league with him four times. and while Unai Emery may not be living up to expectations, is Wenger really the man to step in, here? If they're looking for a man to lead them to Champions League glory... Well, so are Arsenal.
...while Wenger battles Mourinho for Payet
The Star reports that while Arsenal had been leading the race to land Dimitri Payet from West Ham in the January transfer window, "old foe" Jose Mourinho plans to blow the Gunners' offer out of the water to bring the Frenchman to Old Trafford. Payet has hinted recently that he'd like to move on from East London, but the struggling club maintains he is not for sale.
Paper Round’s view: Of course Payet is going to leave West Ham, and rightly so - he is not the calibre of player deserving of a relegation dog fight, which the Hammers could well have on their hands. We're led to believe Mourinho is in the midst of a revolution at Old Trafford, and there could be room for Payet in his squad. However, there are some issues with this report. For example, the notion that Anthony Martial could conceivably end up at the London Stadium as part of the trade off - no way, Jose.
Hart returning to Premier League?
The Mirror reports that Liverpool are eyeing on-loan Torino keeper Joe Hart as a possible replacement for under-fire Loris Karius. Though Karius replaced Simon Mignolet as the first-choice stopper for the Reds after joining this summer, Mignolet was recently switched back amid some horrible blunders against Bournemouth and West Ham, leading to speculation about the German's future. Meanwhile, over in Serie A, Hart - who was thrown under a bus by incoming manager Pep Guardiola earlier this year - is said to be enjoying his new role, though perhaps he does miss the Premier League...
Paper Round’s view: It's a bit early to write off Karius isn't it? Sure, he's made some mistakes but the season - his first at the club - is young. Ish. Klopp may have dropped his new No.1 in favour for Mignolet, though with the media's war of words around the young German ongoing, perhaps that was just as well. We're sure Hart would like to return to the Premier League, but £120,000 a week is an awful lot of money to pay for someone who's only kept four clean sheets this season.
Outrage over Northampton avoiding sanctions
A number of Thursday's back pages focus on the concussion review panel failing to sanction Northampton Saints for their treatment of Wales wing George North after he suffered a head injury at the beginning of the month, despite the panel concluding that he should not have returned to play after the incident. Though the team accepted that North may have lost consciousness during the incident, the panel found that the team followed correct protocol.
Paper Round’s view: It can be deeply disconcerting to see the flippancy with which head injuries appear to be treated across a number of professional sports and it's great that the RFU are taking head injuries seriously enough to have established panels of this kind. However, in this particular case, the club was dealing with a player who had previously been forced to take time out of the sport after suffering a number of head injuries in short succession and even if they followed the correct procedures, surely common sense dictates extra caution would have been wise. It's not enough to say "the club meant well" - a player's safety should be at the centre of any club's decisions.