Real Madrid and Ramos no closer to deal
Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos could be parting ways this summer. Spanish newspaper Marca report that the club are confident that the 34-year-old defender will not receive a higher offer than they have made, while Ramos for his part thinks that Real Madrid will not be able to find a player that would make economic sense for them to sign in his place.
Paper Round’s view: At 34, there is no guarantee that Ramos’ body will hold up for longer than another year. Real don’t want to get stuck with a huge contract that they can’t afford, particularly if Ramos loses his way physically. However there aren’t many cheap central defensive replacements out there, so a compromise will probably be made in the near future.
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Southampton chase Maitland-Niles
The Sun claims that Premier League side Southampton want to bring Arsenal defender Ainsley Maitland-Niles to the south coast. The 23-year-old England international is struggling to find time on the pitch under Mikel Arteta, and was wanted by Wolves in the summer. Southampton have earmarked Manchester United youngster Brandon Williams as a longer term replacement.
Paper Round’s view: Maitland-Niles impressed at the start of the season but has found it hard to get past Kieran Tierney and Buyako Saka on the left-hand side of the pitch. Under Ralph Hassenhuttl he could start to get regular football, which could convince England manager Gareth Southgate that he should take him to Euro 2020 after falling out of the limelight.
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Rojo set to leave United
Manchester United defender Marcos Rojo looks likely to leave the club in the coming days. The Mirror reports that the 30-year-old Argentine will make the switch to Boca Juniors in the next few days. The left-sided player has a contract that runs out at the end of the current season. Meanwhile, Sergio Romero is likely to stay until the summer when his own deal expires.
Paper Round’s view: Rojo arrived in 2014 and in the past six and a half years he has only offered occasional glimpses of his talent. There was plenty of reckless tackling and not a great deal else except for injuries. Moving back to Argentina lets him see out his career in his homeland, and United need to free up space in their squad for younger and better players.
Benteke wanted by three clubs
Crystal Palace forward Christian Benteke is the target of at least three clubs. One of those is Sam Allardyce’s West Bromwich Albion, but he looks likely to end that pursuit after the arrival of Mbaye Diagne. Instead, Parma, Fiorentina and Club Brugge could step up, with the 30-year-old out of contract at the end of the season. The Daily Mail says they are open to doing a deal.
Paper Round’s view: Crystal Palace seem like they are happy to cut Benteke free at the end of the season and they could sell up now to cut down on wage expenditure, and they might be able to raise a small sum by selling him to another club now. Fiorentina and Parma would both be a chance for Benteke to secure one last big contract before his career comes to an end.