Barca after Auba
Barcelona are monitoring Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s exile at Arsenal and are considering an attempt to sign him on loan next month, the Mail reports. The forward is training alone after being stripped of the captaincy at Arsenal, and he is unlikely to play before he ventures off to the Africa Cup of Nations for Gabon. Barca would be keen to loan him, but his £350,000-a-week wages could prove a mighty stumbling block, while the Mail also reported Juventus could join the race for Aubameyang.
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Paper Round’s view: Ah the ol’ £350,000-a-week salary issue. This Barca cannot afford, so it could be a case of whether Arsenal are willing to send him out and cover the costs. Aubameyang’s entire contract is an issue, in truth. It runs until 2023, and unless a club takes him away we could get another unwanted situation at Arsenal – as if it wasn’t bad enough already.
Or… Cavani to Barca?
Sergio Aguero’s retirement means Barcelona are also considering signing Edinson Cavani in the January window, The Sun reports. Ralf Rangnick is said to be keen to work with Cavani, who has not signalled a desire to leave United next month, but serious interest from Barca could put a move on the cards given the Uruguayan is not playing much at Old Trafford.
Paper Round’s view: It’s evident Barca are seeking a short-term solution to losing Aguero, and so it’s 32-year-old Aubameyang or 34-year-old Cavani. In fairness, they would both do a job, but it would only be a temporary fix.
Lingard to wait until summer
Jesse Lingard is set to spend the remainder of the season at Manchester United before considering his options, the Telegraph reports. The midfielder returned to Old Trafford after a fruitful loan spell with West Ham during the second half of the 2020-21 campaign, but he has been unable to force his way into first-team plans – first under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, then Michael Carrick and Ralf Rangnick. His contract expires at the end of the season, and despite being linked with a January return to West Ham, he could well wait.
Paper Round’s view: It’s a shame Lingard’s progress was hindered by returning to Manchester United. He looked a player reborn at West Ham, earned an England recall, and seemed to be enjoying his football once more. He obviously loves Manchester United, but for the sake of his career, it’s time to move on – it’s just a shame he’ll look to wait until the end of the season.
Man Utd’s DM hunt in Jan
Manchester United are prepared to sign a holding midfielder in the January transfer window, according to Manchester Evening News. Ralf Rangnick's preference for a 'double six' – two holding midfielders – means the club are likely to back him in the midseason window, with competition for Fred, Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic required. RB Leipzig midfielder Amadou Haidara is on United’s radar and should be in Africa Cup of Nations action with Mali next month.
Paper Round’s view: Nothing surprising here, but the prospect of actually signing a new midfielder could prove tricky. Clubs will demand high prices, as is the way in January, while others will be reluctant to lose players at this stage of the season. If their top choices aren’t available, United will have to ask how far down they go before deciding to wait until summer.
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