PSG’s final play for Mbappe
Paris Saint-Germain are ready to make one final grand gesture in an attempt to keep hold of Kylian Mbappe. The World Cup winner’s current contract in the French capital is set to expire at the end of the season and he has been heavily linked with a summer move to Real Madrid. However, AS report that the Ligue 1 leaders are ready to hand Mbappe the club captaincy role as a “symbolic gesture” to prove his importance to the future project in Paris. PSG are prepared to remove Marquinhos from the position following a string of poor performances and have the backing of “several PSG leaders”.
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Paper Round’s view: PSG are clearly desperate to keep hold of Mbappe. It’s one thing losing your best player, but it hurts so much more when they are leaving for free. There’s even more to that with Mbappe too. He is a local lad, the future of French football (and world football) and one of the most exciting players to watch on the planet. Everyone at PSG knows that it is Mbappe’s dream to move to Real Madrid, but that won’t stop them from trying to slow down the eventual move. One more year of Mbappe in the French capital could help propel them to Champions League glory. He will be extremely difficult to replace.
Revealed: Ten Hag’s Manchester United transfer wishlist
Ajax boss Erik ten Hag has been linked with the permanent position in the Manchester United dugout and was reportedly interviewed for the role last week. The Mirror reveal that the 52-year-old questioned United’s recruitment plans during the meeting as he sought to find out further information on the club’s summer transfer budget and whether they would be willing to back him. Ten Hag is said to have revealed his first two transfer targets in the interview. The report states that the Ajax manager wants to bring Brazilian winger Antony and Dutch defender Jurrien Timber with him to Manchester from Amsterdam.
Paper Round’s view: It’s quite common that managers bring in players they have worked with before when they take new jobs. We’ve seen it previously – even with Dutch players in the past when Louis van Gaal took over. Manchester United could certainly do with some extra quality in the centre-back and wide forward positions, so it would not harm their squad. Antony has looked like a class act in the Champions League, while some solid defensive depth from Timber is welcome. It will be interesting to see whether Ten Hag - if he gets the job - is backed in the transfer market, or if current interim manager Ralf Rangnick steps into a consultancy role and takes control of the recruitment.
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Dembele U-turn at Barca
Ousmane Dembele could be set to stay at Barcelona after it looked like his career at the Camp Nou was over during the January transfer window. The French forward is entering the final months of his contract with the Catalan club and his recent renaissance under Xavi has now opened the doors to new negotiations over an extension. Barcelona are planning to hold talks with Dembele’s agent “sooner rather than later”, according to the Mail. Barca boss Xavi is desperate to hold onto Xavi, but the club have a back-up plan in Leeds United’s Raphinha if a contract extension deal cannot be struck.
Paper Round’s view: The Dembele revival has been nothing short of spectacular. We all knew there was a top-class footballer in there, but the injuries built up and there was clearly a lack of confidence from the player and the club. Xavi’s return to the Camp Nou seems have completely changed Dembele’s form. The Mail state that the Barcelona manager is “Dembele’s biggest fan” and this has helped turn the World Cup winner into the player that the Blaugrana thought they were signing back in 2017. Barcelona need to do all they can to keep Dembele now… which will be more difficult than it sounds due to limited finances and salary caps.
Villa target £60m-rated Phillips
Aston Villa have entered the race to sign Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips and are willing to spend £60 million to secure the signature of the England international. Phillips has been the subject of interest from Premier League giants Manchester United and Liverpool, but Steven Gerrard is “desperate” to sign a player that has the attributes that Phillips possesses. The former Rangers boss wants a midfielder who can screen the defence and help move the ball up the pitch.
Paper Round’s view: Villa are really backing Gerrard since his arrival at the Midlands clubs in November. The former Liverpool captain was reunited with Philippe Coutinho on loan from Barcelona, while defensive duo Lucas Digne and Calum Chambers both joined in the January transfer window. Now it looks like Villa are prepared to go again this summer. £60 million on Phillips would be a huge statement. It’s not just a big-money move. It would show that Villa can compete with the biggest clubs in the Premier League in the transfer market.
Man Utd close in on £68m deal for De Jong - Paper Round
Man Utd close in on De Jong, tempted by Oxlade-Chamberlain - Paper Round
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