Paper Round: Manchester United on red alert of Cristiano Ronaldo
Manchester United want Cristiano Ronaldo despite a £874m release clause, Everton line up yet more transfers, and Antonio Conte could be facing the sack.
United on alert for Cristiano Ronaldo
Manchester United are on alert for Cristiano Ronaldo after it emerged that he wanted to quit Real Madrid. Ronaldo is unhappy over the story that he is accused of evading taxes in Spain, and a return to his former club has been mooted. The fee would be in excess of £100m, and his wages could be as much as £365,000. However, United would welcome the chance to bring him back to Old Trafford to give the club a new (old) star name.
Paper Round's view: Manchester United, and indeed every club in the world, would benefit from having Ronaldo as their striker. United need one with the exit of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and the seemingly inevitable departure of Wayne Rooney. At 32, Ronaldo appears to be in excellent phsyical shape, so United would get a couple of years from him yet. With Alvaro Morata just one of the strikers the club wants, there is room for another addition up top.
But Ronaldo has a release clause of one billion euros
There are few clubs in the world who could afford Ronaldo, but perhaps nobody will be able to get hold of him if Real Madrid force them to meet the release clause in his contract. The current asking price is £874m, or one billion euros. That was the figure put into his current five-year deal at Madrid, signed just eight months ago. This could prevent any club signing Ronaldo, no matter how much he wants to leave after winning the Champions League.
Paper Round's view: At a billion pounds, it would be impossible for any club to afford him, but there are a number of clubs who could still afford a record-breaking sum. Manchester United, as mentioned above, are one of them, but one should consider the path that Ibrahimovic took to Paris Saint-Germain. Ronaldo would be assured of more trophies and a presence in the Champions League, and benefit from a winter break ahead of the 2018 World Cup.
Conte job in the balance after Costa row
After Chelsea boss Antonio Conte's row with Diego Costa over a text message exchange, Roman Abramovich is considering sacking his title-winning manager. Abramovich, senior players and board members at Chelsea all want Costa to be retained for next season's Champions League campaign, putting them at odds with the manager, who fell out with Costa over a proposed winter move to the Chinese Super League.
Paper Round's view: Abramovich has sacked managers quickly before. However, in all those cases (except perhaps Carlo Ancelotti), the players and results had turned against them. Conte might be a tiresome presence on the sidelines for the neutral, but Chelsea fans adore him after he brought a Premier League title after a year of struggle. Abramovich would have to have a special replacement lined up to assuage the fans.
Koeman to continue spree with Niang
Everton boss Ronald Koeman could continue Everton's transfer spree this summer by adding AC Milan striker M'Baye Niang. Niang had been due to sign for Watford in the summer, but his loan period came to an end when Walter Mazzarri was sacked. Having signed Jordan Pickford and Davy Klaasen already, Niang could be joined by Sandro Ramirez, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Michael Keane.
Paper Round's view: These are sensible signings by Everton, coming at reasonable prices considering the money in the Premier League these days. Pickford strengthens their weakest position, and others coming have experience of English football. However, none of them appear to be the player to help them break into the top five - for now, at least. They do have the advantage of the top five being distracted by the Champions League, so could take advantage of a relatively easy campaign as Leicester did two years again.
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