Josep Maria Bartomeu willing to resign to keep Lionel Messi at Barcelona - Paper Round
Josep Maria Bartomeu offers to resign as president to keep Lionel Messi at Barcelona, Diego Costa could reunite with Jose Mourinho at Tottenham, Wilfried Zaha is still planning to leave Crystal Palace and Leicester City look at options to replace Ben Chilwell. It's Friday's Paper Round...
Demonstration in front of the FC Barcelona offices, calling for the resignation of the club's president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, and that Leo Messi does not leave the Barça team, on 26th August 2020.
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu is reportedly willing to resign from his role to keep wantaway superstar Lionel Messi at the club. According to the Guardian, Bartomeu has informed the Argentine's father of his offer to step down from his current role, so the decision to depart is now completely down to Messi. The Guardian reveal that 33-year-old is "unlikely" to change his mind about wanting to leave, even if Bartomeu were to resign as it would lead to accusations of being "too powerful" at the Catalan club. Additionally, the Barca captain has doubts that the club are able to build a team ready to challenge for the Champions League. The report states that Manchester City are "optimistic they are the club best placed" to sign Messi if he were to leave the Camp Nou this summer.
Paper Round's view: Well this seems to signify Messi's Barcelona exit. The six-time Ballon d'Or winner has reportedly admitted that he is unhappy at the club and wants to leave this summer. There were rumours that he would stay if Bartomeu resigned, but now it seems like this isn't the case. Messi doesn't want to be seen as "too powerful", so leaving Barcelona is now his only option. A move to Manchester City and a reunion with Pep Guardiola this summer is becoming more likely every day.
Speaking of reunions, the Star reveal that Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa could link up with former boss Jose Mourinho at Tottenham Hotspur this summer. The 'Special One' has made the signing of a new striker a "priority" and Costa could be available for a cut-price fee due to the fact that he has less than a year remaining on his current contract. The 31-year-old would serve as Harry Kane's deputy while Spurs look to balance their domestic season alongside playing in the Europa League. The north London club are also interested in forward Callum Wilson , but could be outpriced by recently-relegated Bournemouth.
Paper Round's view: Diego Costa was brilliant under Mourinho during their period together at Chelsea, but he has failed to rediscover that level of form since his incredible 2014-15 season. The Brazilian-born striker has struggled to keep fit and he only scored five goals in all competitions last season. However, he does represent a solid back-up to Kane. Tottenham have failed to find a dependable deputy for their star striker, but Costa offers a solid 'Plan B' for Mourinho and he is a player that he trusts. The Spurs boss knows how to get the best out of the Spaniard, which could see this potential move working out for both parties.
Bartomeu demands Messi explains himself to fans – Euro Papers
Zaha still planning to leave Palace
Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha is still intent on leaving the south London club this summer despite the club's active stance in the transfer market. The Eagles have completed the signing of Nathan Ferguson from West Brom, offered a contract to free agent Ryan Fraser and are close to confirming the purchase of Eberechi Eze from Queens Park Rangers. According to the Guardian, Palace are yet to receive any official offers for the 27-year-old, who remains "relaxed about waiting" until October if necessary. Zaha wants to leave in order "test himself at a higher level" and has attracted the attention of Paris Saint-Germain, Borussia Dortmund and Monaco.
Paper Round's view: It's understandable that Zaha wants to leave Crystal Palace. The Ivory Coast international has spent the majority of his footballing career at the club - bar a short and unsuccessful stint at Manchester United - but it now seems like he has reached his ceiling at Selhurst Park. Zaha was heavily linked with a move away last summer, but Palace were demanding an eye-watering £80 million fee which deterred potential buyers, such as Arsenal and Everton. PSG would be a dream destination but if he wants to be a starter, Everton or Monaco seems more realistic. Borussia Dortmund would be very interesting if Jadon Sancho were to leave this summer.
Leicester City are active in their search for Ben Chilwell's replacement and have drawn up a three-man shortlist, according to the Star. The 23-year-old left-back completed his £50 million transfer to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday and the Foxes are now in the market for a new defender. The Star fail to reveal the full shortlist, but state that the Midlands club could attempt to poach Matt Targett from Aston Villa. The English left-back moved to Villa Park last summer for £15 million from Southampton and is on Leicester's shortlist to replace Chilwell. Villa will now battle to keep their left-back and could be forced to offer Targett a new and improved contract, worth more than his current £45,000-per-week deal.
Paper Round's view: Leicester's recruitment has been pretty successful in recent years and it is reflected in their sales. N'Golo Kante, Riyad Mahrez, Danny Drinkwater, Harry Maguire and now Ben Chilwell are all examples of their effective transfer model. However, it doesn't seem like Targett would fit in with that. The 24-year-old only joined Aston Villa last summer and they won't be too keen to sell him. If he joined for £15 million and still has three years remaining on his current deal, he will not go for cheap. The Foxes have been linked with the likes of Danny Rose, Ryan Bertrand and Nicolas Tagliafico, who would all probably represent better deals for the club in their search for a left-back.