Barcelona are to put almost all of their squad up for sale, reports the Sun. The paper claims that they need to raise £106 million in transfer fees in order to balance their books. There are a host of players available including Samuel Umtiti, Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho, while only Lionel Messi, Andre Ter Stegen and Frenkie de Jong are considered safe.
Paper Round’s view: It is almost impossible to think that Neymar will get his return to Barcelona this summer given the financial disaster the club are facing. Not just that, but Antoine Griezmann may be moved on after a single season, and there could be a number of Premier League sides ready to pounce and make the most of a rival’s weakness.
Barca throw €111m at Lautaro… but Kane was their first choice – Euro Papers
Watford players up in arms
There is a crisis brewing at Watford, according to the Daily Mail. Three of the six positive player and staff coronavirus cases have come at Watford, and Troy Deeney is already choosing not to go back to training. Following the results, more players at the club are now reluctant to return to action, putting the club’s future in disarray.
Paper Round’s view: Watford are vulnerable to the drop, and few could blame the players for refusing to come back. What is more concerning is that the government guidelines are to isolate for just seven days rather than 14, and also that it shows that surely other clubs are going to face the same dilemma either in pre-season or when the resumption is underway.
Spanish newspaper Marca reports that Argentine international Lucas Ocampos is keen on a move to Real Madrid. The 25-year-old winger has 10 goals already for Sevilla this season, and he commented on speculation linking him with a move to Real: "The other day I was discussing it with my wife, we opened the newspaper and saw that Real Madrid were looking at me, that will make anyone's chest inflate."
Paper Round’s view: At 25, he is probably on the cusp of his last significant step up in form, and if Real are keen on him then it may mean the end of the line for Gareth Bale, who may consider a move to China. Chinese football continues to progress and perhaps given his huge wages, they will allow a free transfer to finally get rid of him and continue the renewal of a squad that is a little stale in some positions.
The Daily Telegraph claims that Leagues One and Two are considering the introduction of a salary cap in order to improve the sustainability of the lower reaches of the professional football pyramid. Clubs will be asked to vote on reducing squad sizes to 20 of players aged over 21, and there will be caps of £1.25m (League Two) and £2.5m (League One) for salaries.
Paper Round’s view: These moves are all sensible, and while they are superficially restrictive and radical, they will make sure that clubs are more likely to live within their means. Fines for not paying wages also takes care of player welfare to some degree too, as the situation at some mismanaged clubs this year would have been brought to a head far quicker.