Newcastle and Atletico want Lacazette

The Sun have picked up on a report in Spain claiming Atletico Madrid could rival Newcastle United for the signing of Alexandre Lacazette. The Arsenal striker’s contract runs out at the end of the season, and the 30-year-old would be allowed to sign a pre-contract deal with a foreign side from January 1, potentially handing Atletico the advantage in the race to land the Frenchman. Atletico have been linked with RB Salzburg 19-year-old Karim Adeyemi, but are put off by the valuation of around 30 to 40 million euros.
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Paper Round’s view: This could be a blow to Newcastle’s chances as he would be a solid signing for the north-east club as they look to slowly build their way from relegation candidates to title contenders. That’ll likely take longer than Lacazette would last at the club, so too Eddie Howe potentially, but the striker would take them in the right direction. However, if they go down this season then they’ll be struggling to sign a whole host of players on their wishlist in the summer, including Lacazette.

Martinez keen on Villa, but Gerrard No 1

Belgium boss Roberto Martinez would be interested in returning to the Premier League and taking charge of Aston Villa, The Sun reports, but the club appear to have made Rangers manager Steven Gerrard their top target after sacking Dean Smith. The Mail claim Villa will step up their bid to bring Gerrard to Villa Park this week, and the former Liverpool captain is said to be interested to hear their proposal.
Paper Round’s view: With just around 12 months until the World Cup, you’d have thought Martinez might want one final crack at silverware with Belgium, but perhaps that race is run and he would rather return to club management. With regards to Gerrard, a tough decision potentially awaits. Brendan Rodgers made the switch from Celtic to Leicester, now Gerrard will be asking himself whether Rangers to Villa is a step in the right direction as he seemingly builds up his experience before becoming a prime candidate to replace Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool.

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Emenalo for Newcastle director of football?

Michael Emenalo has emerged as the leading contender to become Newcastle United's new director of football following the appointment of Eddie Howe as manager, the Telegraph reports. Emenalo is a former technical director of Chelsea, who won the Premier League title three times, the FA Cup, the League Cup, the Europa League and the Champions League during his spell at the club. He is credited with identifying Belgium as a blossoming market and helping Chelsea sign Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Thibaut Courtois, and also convinced Eden Hazard to later join.
Paper Rounds’ view: This would be a statement of intent from Newcastle, and with Emenalo spotted in Jeddah, it could be an appointment that is close to being confirmed after Ajax’s Marc Overmars was deemed out of the running. Emenalo has one of the best reputations going, and he should provide Howe with a solid base to build a squad capable of climbing up the league.

Saul frustrated but won’t leave Chelsea

Saul Niguez has grown frustrated at how his loan spell has played out so far at Chelsea. The Telegraph claim the midfielder, on loan from Atletico Madrid, will target the international break to try and force his way into Thomas Tuchel’s plans, while a source – in light of Saul playing just two minutes of Premier League football since he was subbed off at half-time against Aston Villa on September 11 – told The Sun: “He is not angry, he is happy in London, as is his girlfriend. They are determined to see out the move. But he would like the chance to play a bit more. Being on the bench so much has come as quite a surprise.”
Paper Round’s view: The source goes on to tell The Sun that Saul is never going to adapt if he doesn’t actually get game-time, which is true, though it is an all too familiar issue for players at these clubs as places are at a premium. That said, Ross Barkley started on Saturday and Ruben Loftus-Cheek came off the bench – perhaps they’ve impressed more in training, but either way, Saul certainly has a point to prove to ensure he doesn’t go down as a “loan flop”.
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