Paper Round: Atletico Madrid ask Diego Costa to return to Chelsea ahead of move
Atletico Madrid want Diego Costa to return to Chelsea, Manchester United missed out on Cristiano Ronaldo and Riyad Mahrez, and Harry Kane hits back at fans.
Atletico want Costa to resolve Chelsea stalemate
Atletico Madrid want Diego Costa to resolve the stalemate with his current club Chelsea. Costa is currently back home in Brazil having been told that he is not in Antonio Conte's plans, feeling he has been treated, 'like a criminal.' However, Atletico believe that a January transfer would be far easier to pull off if Costa returned to London and attempted a reconciliation with his current club - not least because Atletico are offering £40m, whie Chelsea want £10m more.
Paper Round's view: Both Costa and Conte have engineered an almost intractable situation with their behaviour, and it is up to them to end the distraction. Costa might even find it practical to get some minutes on the pitch either as a reserve or occasionally for the Chelsea first team. Atletico remain the sensible party of the three, though they can do little on behalf of both Chelsea and Costa beyond suggest they grow up.
Mahrez attempted to force through United move
With the transfer window deadline fast approaching, it was reported that the Algerian FA had given Riyad Mahrez the chance to leave the national side's training camp to negotiate a transfer. Roma had been interested in the 26-year-old Leicester City winger, but were unwilling to meet his current side's £50m valuation. His advisers then attempted to force through a move to Manchester United, knowing Jose Mourinho wanted a winger to add to his squad.
Paper Round's view: This story may be more speculative than well-sourced, but the transfer would make sense - and may even be revisited in January. Mahrez won't be cup-tied for European competition this year, and with Chelsea, United and others potentially looking for more reinforcements, Mahrez could be a sensible reinforcement for clubs chasing European and Premier League success.
Kane criticises England boo boys
Following a frustrating night in Malta for the England team, star striker Harry Kane has reacted to the boos from many in the crowd. England struggled to break down Malta until late goals flattered the scoreline, but Kane was displeased with the fans. The Spurs forward said about the critcism:
“I don’t think anyone who says that understands what it takes.
“It’s probably why they’re sitting at home watching and we’re out there playing. I’m extremely proud to represent my country and I know the other players are.
Paper Round's view: Kane is likely right, that the fans don't know the true commitment that it takes to become an England international. But it is a brave man who goes after fans, because as soon as Kane's performance level drops, he will immediately come under pressure both from fans and the press. In tandem, they can make international duty unbearable. While Kane is probably England's best and most reliable player, it seems like an unnecessary risk to take.
How United missed out on Ronaldo
Manchester United were close to signing Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer, but events conspired against them. They and Real were prepared to do a £100m deal for the 32-year-old Portugal international, with Ronaldo happy to return to England. Real were preparing a move for Kylian Mbappe to replace him, but while at Monaco, Mbappe elected to join Paris Saint-Germain as he did not want the pressure of replacing Ronaldo. That resulted in Ronaldo's exit breaking down, and Gareth Bale was not prepared to make the same move.
Paper Round's view: These kind of things happen with transfers across the world, and in the past, United have been ill-prepared to deal with u-turns and sudden dead ends. However, with Mourinho in charge at United he has instructed Ed Woodward to get the essential business done early, meaning that - in this case - failing to add Ronaldo was no disaster, because a striker, defender and midfielder had already been added.