Petr Cech is playing for his future, Willian wants to stay at Chelsea, and Jack Grealish and Aymeric Laporte will consider their international futures.
Cech running out of time
Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech acknowledges that his time could be running out in North London. The 36-year-old has a year remaining on his current deal but has not been offered an extension yet. The Czech ‘keeper faces competition from recent arrival Bernd Leno, who cost his club almost £20m, but has so far retained his position as first choice at the club.
Paper Round’s view: It seems almost certain that Cech will leave the club in the summer unless he puts together a brilliant run of form for the rest of the season. Leno has almost certainly been brought to the club with the promise that he will get the chance to become the long-term first choice at the Emirates Stadium. Cech’s form has tailed off for the last two seasons, so may have to settle for being a back up.
Willian appears to be enjoying life at Chelsea again after he failed to leave in the summer. The 30-year-old was subject of a £55m bid from Barcelona, but Manchester United were also credited with interest from former boss Jose Mourinho. However, after Maurizio Sarri’s positive start to life at Stamford Bridge, he has claimed that he always wanted to stay at the club.
Willian a raté deux énormes occasions lors de Chelsea - West Ham en Premier League dimanche.
Image credit: Getty Images
Paper Round’s view: Given the level of maturity of most football fans, it is far easier to employ doublethink when presented with situations like this. If you join a club, it is a childhood dream fulfilled, but if you remain elsewhere, it was always your intention. It would be pointlessly destructive to acknowledge the truth of the matter, especially when things are going well so far this season.
Jack Grealish remains on the radar as England’s management team is on the lookout for creative talent. Grealish almost joined Tottenham Hotspur in the summer but has stayed for at least half a season more in the Championship. That has not stopped Steve Holland, England’s assistant manager, to take a look at him as he moved to a wide position for Villa’s game against Rotherham United.
Ben Gibson of Middlesbrough collides with Jack Grealish of Aston Villa during the Sky Bet Championship Play Off Semi Final second leg match between Aston Villa and Middlesbrough at Villa Park on May 15, 2018 in Birmingham, England.
Image credit: Getty Images
Paper Round’s view: Grealish could still be called up to the Irish senior side having switched allegiances over the course of his short career. Given his technical ability and promise, it makes sense that England keep tabs on a player who could be playing for a top for Premier League side within a matter of the next few months. England’s senior side is lacking in creative spark at the moment, so the bar can't be set too high.
Manchester City’s defender Aymeric Laporte has denied rumours that he would make an international switch from France to Spain. Laporte was not included in Didier Deschamps’ squad for the World Cup in Russia, and there had been speculation he would swap countries. However he has denied that he will act to make the change, and is instead waiting on a call up for France.
Liverpool's Andrew Robertson in action with Manchester City's Aymeric Laporte
Image credit: Reuters
Paper Round’s view: At 24, Laporte is a little young to be considered for the national side, but he could certainly challenge Raphael Varane and Samuel Umtiti if he continues to improve under Pep Guardiola and gain experience in the Champions League. If he were approaching the end of his career, or if there were another World Cup on the horizon, then he may ultimately take a more pragmatic approach.