United keen on Soucek
The Daily Star reports that whilst Manchester United and Chelsea have been scouting Declan Rice of West Ham for some time, his midfield partner is starting to attract attention from United’s scouts. Tomas Soucek has been identified as a replacement for Nemanja Matic whose career is coming to an end, and the 25-year-old Czech international’s height is also seen as a bonus.
Paper Round’s view: Soucek has adjusted extremely well to life in the Premier League and if he can do that under a manager as prosaic as David Moyes then he would probably do well if surrounded by better players at Old Trafford. He would also probably cost far less compared to Rice, and given the impact of the coronavirus that would make him a much more attractive option.
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Dortmund ready to sell Sancho
The Sun claims that Borussia Dortmund are now willing to relent on their asking price for Jadon Sancho. Last summer they had wanted £108 million for the player, but because they need to raise funds they have reduced their asking price by £20 million for the 20-year-old England international. Also up for grabs are Erling Haaland, Axel Witsel, Manuel Akanji, Mahmoud Dahoud, Giovanni Reyna, Jude Bellingham and Raphael Guerreiro.
Paper Round’s view: Sancho’s occasional ill discipline and his relatively poor form this season might see Dortmund stuck with the player for now, at least until he’s able to get back to his best. For United and other teams, Erling Haaland, Jude Bellingham and Giovanni Reyna are all currently more promising players, and if Dortmund are in need of cash buying more than one of them could be an option.
Raphinha linked to Liverpool
Leeds United bought 24-year-old Brazilian Raphinha from Rennes for just £17 million in October last year, but the Daily Mail believes that he may be available in the summer. Liverpool are keen to add him to their ranks in the summer transfer window, with Jamie Carragher believing that Jurgen Klopp has to start preparing to split up his front three in the next few years.
Paper Round’s view: Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino haven’t become bad players, but it’s clear this season that they are not quite as effective as they were over the past two campaigns. Adding Diogo Jota appears to be a complete success in terms of adding other options, and a wide man like Raphinha would give him time to adjust before another attacker is allowed to leave.
Sevilla name Kounde asking price
Jules Kounde has started to get attention from the biggest clubs in European football and the 22-year-old French central defender was already subject of a 55 million euro bid from Manchester City last summer, an offer that was rejected. However, Sevilla’s transfer guru Monchi is of the opinion that he will be worth 25 million euros more than that in the summer.
Paper Round’s view: Kounde’s rapid improvement after joining Sevilla from Bordeaux has been remarkable, and his brilliant recent goal against Barcelona demonstrates his technical ability can't be ignored. There are few really reliable central defenders left in football so one would imagine that Barcelona, Real, PSG, Bayern Munich and many Premier League sides will circle this summer.