Marcus Rashford faces vital decision amid Manchester United contract extension talks – Paper Round
Marcus Rashford considers his Manchester United future as his career hits a disappointing standstill at Old Trafford. Elsewhere, Tottenham Hotspur draw up their plans for the January transfer window, Newcastle United infuriate relegation rivals Burnley by activating Chris Wood's release clause and Everton enquire to loan Aston Villa winger Anwar El Ghazi.
Marcus Rashford of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Norwich City and Manchester United at Carrow Road on December 11, 2021 in Norwich, England.
Manchester United are keen to open contract talks with Marcus Rashford before the end of the season, despite fears that his career progression has stalled at Old Trafford. There are thoughts at the club that hiring a man manager, like Mauricio Pochettino, in the summer could benefit Rashford and get him back on track. The England international would “prefer” to stay with his boyhood club but is aware that his next contract will tie him down to the Red Devils for the “peak years of his career”. Rashford must decide whether to “remain loyal or pursue a fresh challenge”.
Paper Round’s view: Signing a long-term deal with a club is always a big decision – especially for a player as ambitious as Rashford. He is currently living the dream. He’s on a £200,000-per-week contract at the club he has supported since he was a child and they are keen to hold on to him for the peak of his career. However, if he feels like his career has stalled at Old Trafford, he might want to chase a new challenge elsewhere. A move abroad would be very interesting, but only a limited number of clubs could afford to meet his wage demands. Would they be interested in him on current form? Probably not.
Tottenham Hotspur will aim to make three “key signings” in the January transfer market after head coach Antonio Conte held a meeting with chairman Daniel Levy and managing director of football Fabio Paratici. The Telegraph reveal that the north London club have identified right wing-back, midfield and attack as the three positions that need strengthening in the winter window. The club are already in talks with Wolverhampton Wanderers over a deal for Adama Traore, while central midfielder Franck Kessie could be available for a cut-price fee due to his AC Milan contract expiring in the summer.
Paper Round’s view: The club had to back Conte in January after hiring him mid-season. The Italian manager does not settle for mediocrity and the current Spurs squad has too many passengers who are not good enough to match Conte’s ambition. It seems like Steven Bergwijn, Matt Doherty and Dele Alli are all available to leave this month and replacements will be needed. Traore would prove a versatile squad player who can play as a right wing-back or an attacker, while Kessie would add some much-needed leadership and drive to Spurs’ struggling midfield. Conte is planning to assemble a squad that will end the trophy drought at Tottenham.
Conte: Great fight and desire is required to beat Chelsea and reach final
Newcastle set to splash the cash
Newcastle United are ready to follow up last week’s signing of Kieran Trippier from Atletico Madrid with a new striker. The Magpies have activated the £25-million release clause of Burnley striker Chris Wood, who is expected to make his debut in Saturday’s relegation clash against Watford. Burnley boss Sean Dyche is said to be “livid” with the transfer as Wood will be joining a relegation rival and the Clarets have no replacement lined up. The Mail also reveal that Newcastle are now looking to sign a central defender and are looking at Torino’s Gleison Bremer.
Paper Round’s view: Well, that’s one way to make a splash in the January transfer market. Newcastle have effectively attempted to kill two birds with one stone with the signing of Wood. The Tyneside club have bagged themselves a fearless striker who has Premier League experience and a decent goalscoring record in the English top flight, while – at the very same time – infuriating their rivals. Burnley will be gutted to lose Wood, but the fact that he’s going to Newcastle – a direct relegation rival – will be a bitter pill to swallow. Strengthen your own squad and weaken your rivals. Ruthless.
Everton have enquired for Aston Villa winger Anwar El Ghazi as Rafa Benitez looks to strengthen his squad depth in the January transfer window. The Dutch forward has made just four appearances in the Premier League for Villa this season following the arrivals of Leon Bailey and Emi Buendia this summer. Steven Gerrard has just added Philippe Coutinho to his squad, which could open the exit door for El Ghazi. Everton are looking to add another wide player to their squad and would prefer a six-month loan if they were to sign the 26-year-old.
Paper Round’s view: Everton are clearly trying their best to stay onside of Financial Fair Play. El Ghazi is not the most inspiring signing they could make, but he may prove to be a decent option to have in the squad. The signings of Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend were lamented by supporters during the summer, but both have popped up with vital goals so far this season. Villa will be happy to get him off the books for a while and a short loan spell on Merseyside could help the Netherlands international rediscover his form.