Manchester United are in the market for Bundesliga wonderkids and could keep Odion Ighalo until 2021, Arsenal attempt to hold onto Hector Bellerin and Leicester prepare for the Premier League's return. It's Monday's Paper Round...
United are shopping in Germany
Manchester United are "leading the race" for Bayer Leverkusen attacker Kai Havertz and the Red Devils still want to bring in Jadon Sancho this summer too. The Sun report that United are in pole position to sign Havertz, who is also wanted by Bayern Munich and Liverpool. The highly-rated German youngster would cost the club around £50 million. United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer isn't stopping there as he looks to improve his attack. The club also want to bring in England international Jadon Sancho. The 20-year-old has lit up the Bundesliga since joining Borussia Dortmund from United's local rivals Manchester City back in 2017. His asking price is expected to be north of £100 million.
Paper Round's view: A double raid on the Bundesliga is ambitious. United probably don't need both players - but the report states that the idea would be to have a dangerous front three consisting of Havertz, Sancho and Marcus Rashford. It would definitely represent a nod to the long term. Havertz and Sancho are both 20 years old and Rashford is just 22. With all the hype around the Bundesliga at the moment, Havertz's asking price will continue to rocket so if a club wants to get him for £50 million, they would have to move this year. It will be interesting to see if United are able to afford these two after the coronavirus pandemic. The pair would cost more than £150 million between them and that might be a bit of a stretch - unless the club were able to shift Paul Pogba for a decent fee and maybe Anthony Martial too if he's no longer in Solskjaer's plans.
Manchester United are close to an agreement with Shanghai Shenhua which would see Odion Ighalo's loan period extended to January 2021. According to the Star, the 30-year-old is set to extend his stay at Old Trafford despite previous reports stating that he would be returning to the Chinese club. Ighalo joined United back in January and his temporary deal was supposed to end on May 31. However, due to quarantine rules and travel restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic, the two clubs are close to extending the loan deal.
Paper Round's view: It looks like United will finally get what they want. Solskjaer wasn't shy in his pursuit of keeping Ighalo at Old Trafford. The Manchester outfit have repeatedly expressed their desire to either extend the loan or sign Ighalo permanently. Obviously financial complications with Shanghai Shenhua have been the major stumbling block, but it seems like an agreement has finally been reached. Ighalo scored four goals in his last five matches as he deputised for the injured Marcus Rashford who will be ready to return to action next month. However, with United still competing in the FA Cup and the Europa League - as well as fighting for a top four spot - Ighalo's presence at the club will be needed when the season resumes.
Arsenal face the prospect of losing right-back Hector Bellerin next summer if the club fails to improve under current boss Mikel Arteta. According to the Mail, both Juventus and Inter Milan are interested in the Spaniard, who currently "remains committed" to the club. However, Bellerin's resolve will be tested if the Gunners fail to qualify for any European competitions next season. Arsenal haven't played in the Champions League for the last three seasons and they currently sit in ninth place in the Premier League, with 10 games remaining. Juventus and Inter would both offer Champions League football as they battle with Lazio for the Serie A title this season.
Paper Round's view: Arsenal seem to be in a bit of trouble at the moment. The club expected to be back in the Champions League by now but it just doesn't look like it's going to happen any time soon. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and David Luiz all look likely to leave this summer and now Bellerin could be joining them. Arteta has a huge job on his hands as he needs to rebuild at Arsenal. The Gunners need to recover from their poor period under the management of Unai Emery and it's not going to be easy. Bellerin is one of the stars Arteta needs to try and keep - but if Juve or Inter come knocking, what would keep him from jumping ship?
Leicester to play 'behind-closed-doors' friendlies
Leicester City are set to host friendly matches at an empty King Power stadium to prepare for Premier League matches without fans in attendance. The Telegraph reports that the Foxes are arranging numerous friendlies before the league returns on June 17. Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers believes the dress rehearsals will allow his players to mentally prepare for the strange situation of playing matches behind closed doors. It has been rumoured that the Premier League matches could be played without fans until May 2021.
Paper Round's view: It makes sense to give the players the opportunity to test out what it will be like. Leicester were flying earlier this season and currently sit in third place as they chase down a spot in next season's Champions League. By getting used to the eerie atmosphere of playing in front of an empty stadium, Rodgers is allowing his players to be as best prepared as possible in unprecedented circumstances. Obviously home crowds can unnerve an away team so it will be interesting to see if the home advantage still makes a difference when the Premier League returns.