Take your pick, Pogba
Paul Pogba is set to leave Manchester United as a free agent this summer when his contract expires. The Telegraph report that the 29-year-old is yet to receive any official contract offers and has not even opened negotiations with clubs as he wanted to concentrate on the remainder of the season before making any decision. However, the report reveals that European giants Juventus, Real Madrid and Barcelona are all planning to open contract talks and later table offers for the World Cup winner once the season is over.
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Paper Round’s view: The ball is in Pogba’s court. The Frenchman has decided he does not want to extend his time at Old Trafford and you can’t blame him. His return to the Premier League has coincided with Manchester United’s disaster era and the 29-year-old has been a constant target for the English media. Pogba has the choice to join another elite European club and has the opportunity to prove his doubters wrong. It’s a huge decision. He has previously stated his desire to play for Real Madrid, so you’d have to think that Los Blancos are the favourites to sign him.
Chelsea reignite Kounde interest
Chelsea are ready to reignite their interest in Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde this summer, according to the Times. The Blues are looking at a defensive exodus with free agents Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger expected to join Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively, while there are question marks over club captain Cesar Azpilicueta’s Chelsea future. The west London club have had a long-term interest in Kounde and were close to signing him last summer. The 23-year-old was frustrated when Sevilla blocked his move to Stamford Bridge and is keen on finally completing the transfer at the end of this season.
Paper Round’s view: This is going to be a huge summer for Chelsea. The club need to complete their sale process before any transfer can be completed, meaning there is a huge amount of pressure around the club. Kounde would be a great signing and a brilliant replacement for Rudiger. However, it would have made more sense to extend the German’s contract and sign Kounde too. Those two together – alongside Thiago Silva – would have been an impenetrable back-line. Despite that, Kounde will be the central defender who Chelsea build their future around. He will be ideal in the right centre-back role as he has played at right-back at times in his career too.
Arsenal make decision over transfer target
Arsenal are beginning to plan their summer transfer business and have their eyes on a new centre-forward. Football London reveal that the Gunners are looking at Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus and AS Roma striker Tammy Abraham. The Serie A side have been impressed with Abraham’s debut season in Italy and have decided to slap a €80-million price tag on the England international to discourage any bids this summer. Football London believe this means Arsenal will turn their focus to Jesus, who will become the club’s main target. Mikel Arteta’s side are expected to submit a bid for the Brazilian worth around £35 million.
Paper Round’s view: £35 million for Jesus is not a bad price at all. The Manchester City striker is essentially spending the remainder of the season auditioning for a new club and his current form might be increasing his price tag. Jesus scored in huge matches against Liverpool and Real Madrid recently and bagged four goals against Watford over the weekend. The 25-year-old would be a smart signing for Arsenal, who desperately need to add a striker who can score goals to their squad. Jesus has some untapped potential, has played at the highest level at Manchester City and is Premier League ready.
Newcastle target Tottenham midfielder
Newcastle United are plotting a summer move for Tottenham Hotspur holding-midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. The Mirror reveal that Toon boss Eddie Howe is planning to strengthen his squad once again in the summer market and Hojbjerg is at the top of his transfer shortlist. The Danish midfielder may be allowed to leave if Spurs manager Antonio Conte can find a replacement, while there is also rival interest from Jose Mourinho at AS Roma. Tottenham will demand £30 million for Hojbjerg, who joined for £15 million from Southampton back in the summer of 2020.
Paper Round’s view: Hojbjerg doesn’t just bring his footballing ability, he brings his leadership and aggression to the side. It made a lot of sense when Spurs signed him as it seemed like that kind of personality was lacking in their dressing room. However, the 26-year-old has failed to find a consistent level of form over the past couple of years. It is tough when you play under a number of different coaches. Hojbjerg has the opportunity to bring that level of leadership to Tyneside if he enters the Newcastle dressing room and could be a huge part of their exciting future.
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