No celebs, please

Premier League players who break social distancing rules during goal celebrations could face fines or bans if they continue to ignore new guidelines, Jeremy Cross reports in a story on the Mirror’s back page and also on the Daily Star online. Covid outbreaks at clubs and subsequent postponements are leading to an increasingly demanding calendar, and one that is becoming trickier to schedule by the week. Aston Villa vs Tottenham was the latest postponement, with Spurs vs Fulham now taking place on Wednesday instead, and the pandemic has led Premier League bosses to bring in stricter rules, including the need for substitutes to wear masks while sitting in the stands, and also banning unnecessary contact at all times, including handshakes and hugging.

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Paper Round’s view: This is the reality of where we’re getting to. The season is on a knife-edge and cannot be too many outbreaks away from not managing to finish it in time. Given the Euros fall shortly after the domestic season is set to finish, there is precious little time to extend the campaign as it stands, and so it is no surprise to see the Premier League getting tough as they seek to ride this storm through to calmer waters.

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United battle giants for French wonderkid

United battle giants for French wonderkid - Euro Papers

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Arsenal not chasing Buendia

Arsenal have opted against a pursuit of Norwich playmaker Emi Buendia after the Championship club put a £40m price-tag on the player, the Express reports. Arsenal are looking to sign a creative midfielder, technical director Edu recently admitted, given Mesut Ozil is expected to leave either in January or when his contract expires in the summer. Buendia had appeared to be a more affordable option, in comparison to Isco or Julian Brandt, but Arsenal will now look elsewhere given the fee Norwich are asking for.

Emi Buendia in action for Norwich

Image credit: Getty Images

Paper Round’s view: In Emile Smith Rowe, it appears Arsenal already have the answer to the question of who can fill the void of Ozil. It is after all one that has been left open for a year already, but with Smith Rowe shining in Ozil’s absence, perhaps matters will turn to finding a back-up to let Smith Rowe continue flourishing.

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Milan in for Tomori?

AC Milan could be one option for Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori after the Serie A club enquired about the 23-year-old, the Mail reports. Having racked up just 45 minutes of Premier League football so far this season, Tomori is set to be loaned out for the remainder of the campaign, with Chelsea head coach Lampard confirming after their FA Cup victory over Morecambe on Sunday that Tomori could leave if a short-term solution can be found.

Paper Round’s view: The player certainly needs more game-time, and so both he and Chelsea will be seeking assurances from Milan that this will be the case. That would mean breaking the pairing of Alessio Romagnoli and Simon Kjaer, who have started eight games together for the Serie A leaders and will not want the arrival of Tomori to disrupt their playing time.

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Dembele out, Slimani in at Lyon?

Leicester striker Islam Slimani is set to have medical at Lyon on Tuesday as the Ligue 1 club look to act swiftly and replace the outgoing Moussa Dembele, who is joining Atletico Madrid. The Mail reports Leicester have agreed to let the 32-year old leave early given the player is not part of Brendan Rodgers’ plans and his contract expires in the summer. He joined Leicester for £28m in 2016 but has failed to impress the Foxes, making his one league appearance off the bench so far this season.

Paper Round’s view: Slimani is still at Leicester, for those who may have forgotten, and it is only because he made a brief cameo against Aston Villa that some Premier League followers will have realised he was in Rodgers’ squad. It doesn’t seem like the most ideal of replacements given Lyon are losing Dembele, but perhaps they are hoping for a more ideal option to arise in the summer.

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