Messi could stay at Barca
Barcelona forward Lionel Messi could still stay at the club, despite the expectation that he will leave when his contract is up in the summer. The 33-year-old Argentine did want to leave under Josep Maria Bartomeu, but he is tired of rumours linking him to PSG, and is prepared to hear out any plans of a new president. The arrival of Sergio Aguero and Georginio Wijnaldum may be key.
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Paper Round’s view: The club don’t have much money to spare in order to pull off a huge revolution, but at the same time they have to effect a big change to overhaul the outlook of the club. Aguero and Wijnaldum are just two free agents, but Memphis Depay is another option for a player who wouldn’t cost a transfer fee and could give them the quality they need to mount a title challenge.
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Dortmund ready to sell Sancho
The Mirror claims that Borussia Dortmund could finally be ready to drop their asking price for Jadon Sancho, with the 20-year-old England international now available for around £88 million. That’s because as CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke explained: “Above all, there is the financial balance: that we have a strong team on the field and are economically stable at the same time. Asking banks for credit lines at the drop of a hat just to avoid selling a player will not be our way."
Paper Round’s view: Watzke has done an admirable job of guiding his club through the coronavirus and much of the time before then, and they are built on a financially stable foundation. Covid has made everyday survival tough, and so cashing in on Sancho for what is still a huge sum of money could allow them to at least keep Erling Haaland for one more year.
Hazard's Real future in doubt
The Sun reports that Real Madrid forward Eden Hazard’s future in Spain could be in jeopardy. The 30-year-old Belgian winger has had a hugely underwhelming spell in the country and has suffered with injury, form and fitness problems since his arrival. With the expected purchase of PSG forward Kylian Mbappe, the Frenchman is expected to demand Hazard’s left wing position.
Paper Round’s view: Mbappe is an excellent player and can play across the forward line, so while he might prefer to operate on the left, he could be asked to take up another position if the club needs it. However, Hazard’s contributions have been so poor that he will surely be asked to move on in the summer and Mbappe will thus be free to take up his favourite position.
Bournemouth almost appoint Benitez
Bournemouth have elected to give Jonathan Woodgate a full-time contract to replace Jason Tindall as the manager for the Championship south coast club, but they came close to appointing former Liverpool, Newcastle and Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez, according to the Daily Mail. The Spaniard had just left Chinese side Dalian Pro, but was worried a move to Bournemouth would still be too difficult for his family.
Paper Round’s view: Benitez’s family were largely settled where they were, and a move to China must have been a strain. Famously, he retained a house in Merseyside and has a strong relationship with Liverpool, so he may now wish to move back north and look out for any jobs that can keep him closer to that area rather than an entirely new setting.
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