Paper Round: Zidane wants Sterling at Real Madrid
Zinedine Zidane wants Raheem Sterling and warns Thibaut Courtois, Jurgen Klopp won't spend heavily, and Olivier Giroud considers his Chelsea future.
Zidane targets Sterling
The Mirror leads with the story that new manager Zinedine Zidane is targeting Raheem Sterling when he shakes up Real Madrid in the summer. Other targets mentioned in the paper are Christian Eriksen, Neymar and Eden Hazard, with around £300 million earmarked for their transfer budget. Manchester City want to keep hold of Sterling, particularly as they may face future transfer bans.
Paper Round’s view: Sterling could be the best Englishman of recent years if he continues to improve, so why he would stay at City is not clear. The club faces the possibility of sustained punishment for alleged financial transgressions, so going elsewhere to work with Zidane - who has outperformed Spanish manager Pep Guardiola in the Champions League - makes sense.
Klopp rules out heavy spending
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has appeared to play down the chances of the club spending huge sums again in the summer transfer window, having brought in Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker in two windows. He said: “I don’t want to talk exactly what we will do, but I don’t think this is a team at the moment where we have to spend the big money, or whatever.”
Paper Round’s view: Klopp’s Liverpool side could still be improved in defence and midfield, where players like James Milner and Jordan Henderson simply do not enough technically and can't keep up with the quality around them. To be fair, finding players better than them should not break the bank because there are so many foreign and younger English players who could usurp them.
Courtois warned over form
Thibaut Courtois’ future at Real Madrid is in doubt following the arrival of Zinedine Zidane at the club, according to The Sun. The French manager is a huge fan of Keylor Navas, who was the first-choice ‘keeper in Zidane’s first spell at the club, and has warned the 26-year-old Belgium international about his poor form at the club since his arrival from Chelsea in the summer for £38 million.
Thibaut CourtoisGetty Images
Paper Round’s view: Courtois is readjusting to his life in Spain after years away, and is now at the biggest club in the world, which brings its own special pressure. It would probably be a mistake to wound his confidence by dropping him in favour of Navas with only a few games left, and the summer would represent a chance for Zidane to work with and help Courtois.
Giroud ready to leave Chelsea
Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud has said he is prepared to leave the club if he is kept on in a bit-part role at the club. The Sun reports that Giroud was asked about whether he would stay if his role did not change, he said: "No. No chance. I'm a competitor. I'm 32 but I'm still young. I feel very well physically.” The player’s contract runs out at the end of the season.
Olivier Giroud (Chelsea)Getty Images
Paper Round’s view: If Giroud wants to play regularly and as first choice, he would have to drop down the league to ensure he is the very best player around, and as a free agent he might even secure a bigger wage to end his career. However, if another top side came in for him then he might find it hard to turn down the chance to win some more trophies before retirement.