Barcelona cannot afford Georginio Wijnaldum, Leeds United want Daniel James, Arsenal won't pay up for Houssem Aouar, and Manchester City chase a defender.

Barca can't sign Wijnaldum

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Barcelona can't sign Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, according to the Mirror. Their report says that because of the government help they received to cope with the coronavirus, Spanish teams must pay an equal amount of any transfer fee back to the state. That would rule out Wijnaldum with the 29-year-old Dutch international likely to cost around £25 million.

Paper Round’s view: The rule to help the clubs out while ensuring the government gets a return is a fair one, though it must hamstring the clubs looking to spend all but the smallest figures. Memphis Depay is a bargain at £25 million, but at twice that he would probably be far too expensive for the Barcelona board to countenance. It explains the lack of transfer activity across La Liga.

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Destination known? Will Aouar move to Arsenal, Juventus or PSG? - Euro Papers

Leeds want James

The Sun reports that Leeds United are interested in Manchester United winger Daniel James. The 22-year-old Welsh international moved to United from Swansea City in the summer after almost joining Leeds the previous winter. Now they are back in for him and could pay £12 million for the player, though they may attempt to sign him on loan for their first season back in the Premier League.

Paper Round’s view: James started off brilliantly last season but his confidence and end product has absolutely collapsed. There is clearly talent there, but perhaps the pressure of Old Trafford has got to him and the death of his father is still only a year on. A loan to Leeds United might give him the chance to rediscover his best form under a legendary manager.

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Arsenal can’t afford Aouar

Arsenal can't afford Lyon playmaker Houssem Aouar, according to the French club’s chairman Jean-Michel Aulas. The Daily Star quotes him as saying that Mikel Arteta’s side either won’t pay up the required amount or simply don’t have the funds to do so. The 22-year-old is in demand after an impressive end to the season in the Champions League.

Paper Round’s view: Arsenal have hit the ground running this season but they looked a little lethargic and toothless through the middle against West Ham in their late win on Saturday night. Mesut Ozil used to be the creator but his lack of pace has seen him left behind by modern football. Perhaps if they can sell him in the next few weeks Arsenal can afford his potential replacement.

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Mesut Özil / FC Arsenal

Image credit: Getty Images

City fail with Kounde bid

Manchester City have failed with a bid for Sevilla central defender Jules Kounde. The 21-year-old French defender has a release clause of 90 million euros and City have offered just 55 million, which was rejected. They have also failed with a bid of 90 million for Jose Gimenez, Atletico Madrid’s central defender, and may turn back to Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly.

Paper Round’s view: Manchester City are going all out to improve their defence having already signed Nathan Ake from Bournemouth. Kounde would be the long term investment, but Koulibaly would provide an excellent option right now. Given that it is unclear just how much longer Pep Guardiola plans to stay at the club, he may want to bring in someone who is ready to play at the highest level already.

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