United offered Vinicius Jr. as part of Varane deal
Manchester United are close to signing Real Madrid’s 28-year-old French central defender Raphael Varane, with the Mirror suggesting that a deal is imminent between United and the Spanish club. However, as Real attempt to raise funds for Kylian Mbappe, they have offered United the chance to sign Vinicius Jr. on a loan deal, to then convert the transfer to a permanent one for £68.5 million for the 21-year-old Brazilian.
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Paper Round’s view: Vinicius has the talent to make his career something special, and moving away from the pressure of Real Madrid could help him blossom. For United though, he is not the kind of player who is essential in this transfer window. It would put some pressure on Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford to get some consistency, but would presumably force the exit of at least one of them.
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United troubled by Varane and Trippier valuations
While the Mirror believes Varane’s transfer is close, another story in the Mail suggests that they are struggling to agree to the £50 million valuation from Real Madrid, because he only has a year on his contract to go. As well as that, Kieran Trippier is wanted from Atletico Madrid but is also regarded as too expensive. Loan moves for Axel Tuanzebe and Alex Telles are in the pipeline, but talks over Diogo Dalot’s exit have stalled.
Paper Round’s view: Dalot, Tuanzebe and Telles have all failed in their own ways to make serious demands on a first-team spot, so getting rid of them to save wage expenditure and raise funds makes sense. As for the valuations of Varane and Trippier, the time is now to make an agreement or move onto another target that the club know they can actually afford.
Davies set for swift Liverpool exit
Liverpool’s central defender Ben Davies looks set for a move away from Anfield despite only joining in the winter transfer window. The 25-year-old former Preston North End player has his path to the first team blocked by the return of Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez, and Ibrahima Konate has arrived from RB Leipzig. Sheffield United want the player on loan.
Paper Round’s view: It is little surprise to see Davies close to being moved on. The player was linked with a move to Celtic before Liverpool’s injury crisis forced them to move in the market, and after his own injury problems prevented him from playing a single game for his new team, it seemed inevitable that he would only be a bit-part player at best in the forthcoming season.
Barcelona aim to sell Griezmann and Coutinho
Spanish newspaper Marca reports that Barcelona are aiming to sell two headline first team players. The first in line is Antoine Griezmann, who has underperformed in the two years since his move from Atletico Madrid, and the second is Philippe Coutinho, who has been even more disappointing after his £105 million move from Liverpool in the 2017/18 season, and would save Barca 100 million euros in wages.
Paper Round’s view: The pair of forwards were bought with huge expectations but they appear to have moved after the peak of their careers. Coutinho briefly flashed at Bayern Munich and Griezmann has improved since his first season after joining, but both of them probably joined the club too late and failed to find the level required to make their moves a success.
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