Barcelona close to Depay transfer
Spanish newspaper Marca reports that Dutch international striker Memphis Depay is regarded as likely to join Barcelona, by the Catalan club at least. There is rival interest from around Europe, and the 27-year-old forward is also wanted by Juventus, Inter Milan and Paris Saint-Germain, which has pushed up his wages demands. However Ronald Koeman’s relationship with the player is expected to help.
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Paper Round’s view: Memphis has had another good year in France, but it’s time to move on because, unless you play for PSG, there is little chance to feature beyond Ligue 1 and regularly test yourself against the players in Europe. Barcelona will then be able to sell some other forwards in order to balance the books, and maybe make a profit given the outlay on Memphis will be low.
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City target Mendes to wait
The Mail suggests that Premier League champions Manchester City may wait until after Euro 2020 to complete the signing of Nuno Mendes. The 18-year-old Portuguese international has been told to focus on the task at hand, and while the Sporting Lisbon player has a £60.1 million release clause that is yet to be activated, there could be competition from Spanish side Real Madrid.
Paper Round’s view: Pep Guardiola’s determination to spend hundreds of millions of pounds to try one left back after another is as remarkable as it is profligate. It is hard to see how the best manager in the world - which he almost certainly is - can't improve on his performance in the transfer market, and perhaps make it easier for his club to meet their FFP requirements.
Chelsea step up interest in Niguez
The Sun claims that Chelsea are the latest club to show an interest in Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez. The 26-year-old has a £130 million release clause with his club, but they would take around half that in order to raise funds in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Manchester United have a longstanding interest, and Bayern Munich, PSG and Juventus are also keen.
Paper Round’s view: Niguez is an exceptionally reliable performer in a well-drilled team, and his ability to operate from deep offers creativity and defensive protection. For United it’s obvious he’s a step above Scott McTominay and Fred, and for Chelsea they might get more out of him than Jorginho, who is often seen as something of an inconsistent figure.
Neuhaus wants titles
The Mirror reports that Borussia Monchengladbach’s midfielder Florian Neuhaus wants to make sure he can win titles before he decides on any switch. The 24-year-old playmaker has been linked with Bayern Munich as well, but that is not his only attractive option, as he is also interesting Liverpool, with Jurgen Klopp needing a replacement for Georginio Wijnaldum.
Paper Round’s view: Wijnaldum was an excellent player and at the heart of two of Liverpool’s recent best seasons, but his exit is a chance to lower the average age of the squad generally, and the midfield in particular. Given the occasional struggles of their front three, too, getting a different type of attacking impetus behind them might help spark some new life into their approach.
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