How Barca plan to secure Haaland

Barcelona are already putting together a summer transfer plan to complete president Joan Laporta’s “dream” signing: Erling Haaland. The club’s “number one objective” is to sign a striker and have made the 21-year-old their priority. The Borussia Dortmund talisman’s €75 million release clause becomes active this summer, and this is being viewed as a cut-price fee for a player of his quality. Barca are aware that if they miss out on Haaland, they will have to pay a premium fee for a striker elsewhere. The Catalan club will aim to target free transfers elsewhere in the summer market to save their finances for Haaland. Chelsea duo Cesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen are being viewed as cheap options as they are available for free when their contracts expire at Stamford Bridge.
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Paper Round’s view: Barcelona seem to be doing all they can to sign Haaland. The problem is that the rest of Europe’s top clubs will be doing exactly the same thing. Juventus have just signed Dusan Vlahovic so won’t be an option, but the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid are all going to have Haaland on their radars. They all have a lot more financial muscle than Barca. It’s tough to see the Blaugrana winning this race. It’s obvious the club want to prove they are still able to compete with the top clubs, but they have a decent young core at the moment and need to concentrate on rebuilding. Haaland is most likely going to be out of reach, but the future could be bright with the likes of Ansu Fati, Ferran Torres and Pedri
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Man Utd ‘confident’ of transfer muscle

Manchester United are “confident” of attracting their top transfer targets this summer even if they fail to qualify for next season’s Champions League. The Red Devils currently sit in fourth place in the Premier League and hold a four-point lead over West Ham United. However, Arsenal, Wolves and Tottenham Hotspur can catch Ralf Rangnick’s side if they win their games in hand. The Mail report that United believe they will still be able to sign the likes of Harry Kane and Declan Rice – even if they miss out on the top four. The Manchester club refer back to the fact they managed to sign Paul Pogba from Juventus for a then-world record transfer fee back in 2016, despite competing in the Europa League.
Paper Round’s view: Kane and Rice have never shied away from the fact that they want to be competing in the Champions League. Tottenham and West Ham have competed for European places in recent years but have missed out on the top four. So why would they leave their boyhood clubs to join Manchester United and play in the Europa League? Well… United are one of the biggest clubs in world football and obviously money talks, so you can never write off their pull in the transfer market. However, it does depend on which other clubs are interested in the England internationals. Rice could easily get a move to Chelsea or Manchester City. Kane has fewer options and a potential reunion with former Spurs boss at Old Trafford could be enough to convince him to move on.
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Newcastle to resume Carlos pursuit in summer

Newcastle United will return for Sevilla centre-back Diego Carlos in the summer transfer window after failing to sign their defensive target in January. The Magpies were hoping to sign the Brazilian in the winter window, but the Star report that a “derisory” bid was made. Sevilla were holding out for Carlos’ buy-out clause, which is worth £58.4 million. However, Newcastle are hoping that the summer market will be easier to negotiate a lower price as Sevilla will be better placed to bring in a replacement for their centre-back.
Paper Round’s view: Newcastle ended up signing Brighton defender Dan Burn for £13 million after seeing their bid rejected for Carlos. It is reported that the bid was around the £30 million mark and that seems a bit low for a club that are competing in a title race and have no real reason to sell mid-season. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Newcastle return with a bid in the region of £40 million in the summer and Carlos would be a solid addition. The Tyneside club need to continue strengthening their defence and a summer move for Lille centre-back Sven Botman would be a smart move too. A back four of Kieran Trippier, Carlos, Botman and Matty Target is a solid base.
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London to host the Champions League final?

London could be set to host the 2022 Champions League final, with St Petersburg expected to lose their role as hosts as the Russia-Ukraine crisis continues to escalate. UEFA are currently weighing up alternative options and multiple London venues have been proposed as potential hosts. Wembley Stadium and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium have been mooted, but the pair are respectively hosting the EFL League Two play-off final and rugby league’s Challenge Cup final on May 28. The Telegraph report that this has opened the door for the operators of the London Stadium, 10 years on from hosting the 2012 Olympic Summer Games.
Paper Round’s view: A new host venue is needed and there will be plenty of options across Europe. The London Stadium has proven to be a successful venue since hosting the Olympics back in 2012. The venue has a capacity of 66,500, has premium travel links and plenty of hotels and hospitality in the surrounding area. Hopefully the decision is made sooner rather than later so fans can commit to travelling, should their clubs reach the Champions League final.
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