Paper Round: Manchester United line up £40m Douglas Costa
Manchester United want Douglas Costa but may lose out on Gareth Bale, Manchester City want Jerome Boateng and Newcastle could sign Martin Dubravka permanently.
Manchester United monitor Douglas Costa
Jose Mourinho has asked Manchester United vice-chairman Ed Woodward to explore the possibility of signing Juventus playmaker Douglas Costa. The 27-year-old is on loan from Bayern Munich, and Juventus have the chance to make the deal permanent. However, United retain an interest because the futures of Anthony Martial and Juan Mata are both currently unclear despite their first team involvement.
Esultanza Paulo Dybala, Douglas Costa, Getty ImagesGetty Images
Paper Round's view: If Juventus want Martial, then Costa would represent an excellent way to complete any deal. Martial has the promise and resale value that would appeal to Juventus, but Costa gives Mourinho the battle-ready replacement he is looking for in most positions. Given his flexibility across the front three, he would also give United the chance to replace Mata, who is too slow to make a difference in the toughest games.
City face battle for Boateng
Pep Guardiola wants to be reunited with his former Bayern Munich central defender Jerome Boateng, who still plays at the Allianz Arena. Boateng has already played for City, from 2010 to 2011, but has improved immensely since his return to Germany. However, Guardiola isn't the only one with an interest, as Real Madrid, Manchester United and Barcelona are all considering a £50m offer for the 29-year-old German international.
Jérôme Boateng vom FC Bayern MünchenGetty Images
Paper Round's view: Guardiola is at the front of the pack. He can probably offer the highest wages, but he was also the manager under whom Boateng hit the peak of his powers, and if the defender enjoyed his time in Manchester, then he would probably happily come back. United, Real and Barcelona all need reinforcements, and at £50m Boateng might be rated as a relative bargain compared to less experienced alternatives.
Bale put off United transfer
Jose Mourinho's treatment of Luke Shaw is putting off Gareth Bale from considering a move to Manchester United in the summer. Bale is expected to leave Spain at the end of the season, but he shares an agency with Shaw and is aware of the dismissive treatment he has received from Mourinho over the past two years. His agency are apparently furious with what they consider bullying of the 22-year-old England international.
Gareth Bale of Wales celebrates after scoring a goalReuters
Paper Round's view: If his agency were really concerned about the treatment of Shaw by United, then they should have intervened at any time there were concerns over his fitness, going back from Mauricio Pochettino making the player healthy smoothies at Southampton, to concerns raised by Roy Hodgson, Louis van Gaal and now Mourinho. Shaw might be upset, but perhaps this just demonstrates why he has wasted his talent for the last four years. Bale is unlikely to be similarly fooled.
Dubravka weighs up Newcastle future
Newcastle United loan goalkeeper Martin Dubravka will stay at the club permanently, but only if the club stay in the Premier League. The 29-year-old Slovakian international has impressed since his arrival at the club in the winter transfer window on loan from Sparta Prague, and said: "Everything depends mainly on how the team finishes in the top-flight or whether we stay in it. In my opinion, it will also affect my future in the club."
Newcastle keeper Martin Dubravka has played down his hero status (Owen Humphreys/PA)PA Sport
Paper Round's view: Dubravka could prove to be a bargain, and demonstrates just how much of a risk Mike Ashley is taking with his underinvestment. He might be able to finally sell Newcastle at a huge profit if he stays up, but should the club go down then he will struggle to get half of his current £300m asking price. The goalkeeper's equivocation demonstrates the problems for players at the club considering their futures.