De Jong ready for United deal
The Mirror reports that Manchester United’s new boss Erik ten Hag has convinced Frenkie de Jong that he can be a success at Old Trafford and that working together again, they can move United up the table. The club now have to negotiate a fee with Barcelona to get them to sell the midfielder, and it is thought that an offer of £68 million will be enough to get the deal done.
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Paper Round’s view: De Jong has not quite flourished at Barcelona but that struggle has come at a time when the whole team has failed to do well. Xavi Hernandez appears to have the club moving in the right direction again, but it seems that the Spanish club have decided that the 25-year-old Dutchman is an easy way to raise transfer funds to commit to a rebuild.
Arsenal consider Xhaka replacement
Arsenal could see Bayer Leverkusen swoop in with an offer for their 29-year-old midfielder Granit Xhaka, but Roma are also keen, according to The Sun. They have their eye on Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans who might cost £35m, but they are also looking at Serbian midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic at Lazio, as well as Arthur Melo of Juventus, and Wolves’ Ruben Neves.
Paper Round’s view: Xhaka has been a mediocre performer for years at Arsenal and if there is a willing buyer then now is the time to move him on. Arthur Melo does not seem to be at the top of his game anymore, so the three remaining options of Milinkovic-Savic, Neves and Tielemans would represent much less of a gamble for Mikel Arteta as he looks to crack the top four.
Liverpool negotiate for Nunez
The Mail suggests that Liverpool’s transfer head Julian Ward is looking to negotiate more favourable terms for striker Darwin Nunez. His current team Benfica want £68m plus £17m in add-ons, whereas Liverpool hope to drive down the price to something like £60m paid up front and then less aggressive potential bonuses later down the line, as they pursue the 22-year-old Uruguayan international.
Paper Round’s view: With Manchester United seemingly out of the running as they focus their funds on De Jong, it looks like a deal between Benfica and Liverpool is inevitable. The Portuguese side are a selling club and could do with a huge cash injection, and Jurgen Klopp’s side need to act now to replace Sadio Mane, especially as both Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino could leave next summer.
Barca line up five names
Spanish newspaper Marca reports on the five signings that Barcelona are aiming to secure before the start of the season. The paper claims that the club are aiming for experienced players who can come in and perform well for a season or two, while other players are brought through. Andreas Christensen and Franck Kessie are in their 20s but Marcos Alonso, Cesar Azpilicueta and Robert Lewandowski are much older.
Paper Round’s view: Four of those players are reliable talents and none of them should cost an exceptional amount of money. Of course it may be difficult for Barcelona to convince Bayern Munich to sell Lewandowski, and they might have to pay over the odds for a player with just a year left on his contract. Alonso, however, might be cheap but is not the level needed.
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