Jack Grealish of Aston VIlla celebrates scoring their first goal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Aston Villa at Old Trafford on December 01, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom.
Manchester United edge closer to Jack Grealish deal, Barcelona could sacrifice Ansu Fati, while Tottenham Hotspur are offered ex-Arsenal star Aaron Ramsey and plan to beat their north London rivals to the signing of Thiago Silva. It's Monday's Paper Round...
United push for £75m Grealish
Manchester United are ready to prioritise a transfer for Aston Villa's Jack Grealish this summer after being told Jadon Sancho won't be leaving Borussia Dortmund until 2021. According to the Star, the German club are "confident" Sancho will stay at Dortmund for "one more season at least", despite the fact that United are willing to pay north of £100 million for the England international. This has led to United executive vice chairman Ed Woodward stepping up his pursuit of Grealish. The Villa captain has reportedly decided he will leave the Midlands outfit at the end of this season, regardless of whether they stay up or not. The 24-year-old will cost the Manchester club £75 million and he will sign a contract worth around £150,000 per week.
Paper Round's view: The Sancho news will be tough for United to take. It has been an ongoing story all season and it was widely expected that the Premier League side would smash their transfer record to bring the youngster to Old Trafford - but that will have to wait a year. Whether it's this summer or next, we can assume that Sancho will end up at United at some point... and it's the same story with Grealish. The Villa captain has reached his ceiling at his boyhood club and it's probably time for him to move on. Let's hope that he's not just a big fish in a small pond and he can be part of bringing success back to Old Trafford.
The Times have analysed the possibility of Barcelona allowing exciting teen prospect Ansu Fati to leave this summer, with arch-rivals Real Madrid and Manchester United both interested in the 17-year-old. Fati - who became the youngest goalscorer in Champions League history earlier this season - could be sacrificed by Barca as they look to raise transfer funds. The Catalan club are said to have rejected a bid from Manchester United last week worth €100 million as Fati's release clause is €170 million. However, with the Barca board pursuing deals for Neymar and Lautaro Martinez, the youngster could push for a move if he falls down the pecking order.
Paper Round's view: It's been widely reported that Barca are low on cash - but surely they wouldn't give up one of their most exciting academy graduates. If they have already rejected a huge bid from United, it's difficult to see what would change their mind. Obviously the Times' report mentions the potential return of Neymar to Camp Nou. If the club were to attempt to sign the Brazilian from Paris Saint-German, they would need transfer funds and selling Fati would be an easy way to make the money. It's disappointing to see as there has been a lack of top-quality graduates from Barca's esteemed La Masia in recent years and Fati could genuinely be the next in line. If his path is blocked by new signings, his future in Spain could be over before it began.
Tottenham Hotspur have reportedly been offered the opportunity to sign ex-Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey, according to the Sun. The Welsh international left the Gunners last summer after his contract expired and joined Italian champions Juventus, but he could already be on his way back to north London. Ramsey has failed to settle in Serie A and the coronavirus pandemic could force Juve to offload some of their players. The 29-year-old has been offered the chance to return to the Premier League - but to his former rivals in a loan deal which would see Spurs split the costs of his £400,000-a-week salary with the Italian giants.
Paper Round's view: Imagine Ramsey moving to Tottenham. It would cause outrage in the red half of north London - but Spurs fans wouldn't mind adding a player of Ramsey's class and quality to their midfield. It's a shame that his move hasn't worked out, but Juve have so much quality in their midfield. Superstars like Miralem Pjanic, Blaise Matuidi, Sami Khedira, Adrien Rabiot and Rodrigo Bentancur are all battling for two midfield positions so it was always going to be difficult for Ramsey to nail down a starting spot. Realistically, if Spurs are being offered the opportunity to sign the former Gunners midfielder, a handful of other Premier League clubs are probably weighing up the same deal from Juve. Maybe Arsenal could explore the possibility of re-signing Ramsey...
Staying in north London, the Sun also report that Arsenal and Tottenham are ready to battle it out for Thiago Silva, who has confirmed he will be leaving Paris Saint-Germain this summer after spending eight successful years in the French capital. The Brazilian's contract is set to expire and a host of Premier League clubs have declared their interest in bringing the PSG captain to England. Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho views the 35-year-old centre-back as a short-term replacement for Jan Vertonghen, who is set to leave Spurs this summer as his contract also comes to an end. Arsenal and Everton both hold interest in Silva - who is currently earning a whopping £350,000-a-week salary in Paris.
Paper Round's view: It will be interesting to see if Thiago Silva will still be good enough to play in the Premier League. We all know how good he has been throughout his career - but Silva turns 36 years old in September. It's tough enough for top-quality defenders to adapt to the Premier League's physical style at their peaks - let alone at the end of their careers. If Silva is willing to take a hit on his current wages, he could be a great signing for either Spurs or Arsenal - but he represents a massive risk. Both clubs have probably taken a huge hit from the coronavirus pandemic and are adjusting their transfer plans by looking at free transfers.