City move in on Dias
Manchester City are turning their attention to a new central defensive target. They have opened negotiations with Ruben Dias, reports the Daily Telegraph. The paper says that they will try to send Nicolas Otamendi the other way in order to reduce the financial outlay required to sign the 23-year-old Portuguese international, who is currently at Benfica.
Paper Round’s view: Dias is likely a serious step up in quality from Otamendi, who did a reasonable job without ever regularly impressing. Getting him off the wage book is important, but being well-stocked at the back with Nathan Ake as well as Aymeric Laporte should fix a serious weakness for Pep Guardiola. It may even be enough to finally win a Champions League title.
Are Everton about to hijack Tottenham’s deal for striker? - Euro Papers
Barcelona’s bizarre Lautaro offer
Barcelona had long been expected to sign Lautaro Martinez before coronavirus came to Europe, but Marca reports a very strange turn of events. Having sold Luis Suarez and Nelson Semedo, Barcelona made an opening bid for the 23-year-old striker by offering 15 million euros, plus add-ons for the player. The bid was dismissed out of hand, and Martinez is shocked.
Paper Round’s view: It is a weird move from Barcelona because it will only serve for them to upset Martinez. Presumably he would have understood that a transfer is not possible this season because of the state of club finances in every country, but to waste his current club’s time, and that of his agents, could backfire when credible offers come in next year from other clubs.
Chelsea target Rice
The Mirror reports that Chelsea are going to make a last-ditch offer to sign Declan Rice from West Ham, despite David Moyes’ side not willing to sell. That means a huge offer may be needed, which helps Arsenal. As they can't yet afford Houssem Aouar or Thomas Partey, Chelsea’s need to raise funds may let them sign Italian midfielder Jorginho, who is falling down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge.
Paper Round’s view: Chelsea have done well to sell their offcuts to Arsenal over the years, with Petr Cech and David Luiz being allowed to move across London. Jorginho does not suit Chelsea’s style of play and if they are desperate enough for Rice, then it would make sense for them to allow Jorginho to switch too, because Arsenal are unlikely to challenge them this season.
United set to make two transfers
The Sun believes that Manchester United are set to make two further transfers before the end of the window. The first is Jadon Sancho, with Borussia Dortmund to be offered a take-it-or leave it structured deal. The second is Alex Telles, but United are reportedly unwilling to offer £18 million for a 27-year-old in the final year of his contract. United want to bring in players after their 3-1 home loss to Crystal Palace.
Paper Round’s view: United are going to offer Dortmund less money than the German club want for the player, and they are going to offer Porto less than they want. It’s a repetitive story and one of the roots of their failure under Ed Woodward. It is unlikely to change any time soon so United fans should probably buckle up for another season of torpor.