Wijnaldum set for free transfer to Barcelona

Georginio Wijnaldum looks certain to leave Liverpool this summer on a free transfer. The Mirror claims that Barcelona are ready to offer the 30-year-old Dutch international wages of £220,000 a week to join them when his contract at Anfield runs out at the end of the current season. While Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp wants him to stay, they can't match the offer from the Catalans.

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Paper Round’s view: Barcelona may not be as successful as Liverpool right now, but it is a more glamorous place to live and Wijnaldum would be reunited with his former Netherlands manager Ronald Koeman. Liverpool probably already expected the midfielder to leave last summer, and have signed Thiago already in order to smooth the exit of the former Newcastle player.

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Fred set for United stay

Manchester United midfielder Fred could be given a new contract to extend his stay at Old Trafford. The 27-year-old Brazilian has improved dramatically since his arrival from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2018, and he could be given new terms despite his current contract running until 2023 with the option of another year, according to the Sun. He has played in all but one of the club’s Premier League games so far.

Paper Round’s view: Fred has done well to improve after his poor start at the club, but realistically he is still not near the quality that the club need to challenge regularly for silverware. If United are serious about improving then he should be moved on and younger players with more potential should be brought in, but that is not the way the club are run under Ed Woodward and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer does not have the nous or authority to challenge him effectively.

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United set for quiet January

The Daily Mail suggests that Manchester United are looking to bring in just a single player in the January transfer window. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer does not expect much action, and the club already spent £84.6 million over the summer. There could be one arrival though, with Atalanta winger Amad Diallo ready to join the squad should he get a work permit.

Paper Round’s view: Diallo has not featured for Atalanta this season since his move to Manchester United was confirmed, but given he is so young it should not dent his progress too much. The teenager looks excellent in the clips from his brief appearances in Serie A so far, but given United’s biggest problems are in defence they should act to reinforce at the back if they can.

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Real in race to renew contracts

Spanish paper Marca reports that Real Madrid face a race to make sure that they nail down four players to new contracts. The paper claims that Real are yet to open talks with Lucas Vazquez and Luka Modric, who have contracts that run out at the end of the season, and Nacho, whose deal is due to expire in 2022. There is also a need to finalise the renewal of Sergio Ramos’ contract.

Paper Round’s view: Given the impact of the coronavirus, it is likely that Real will try to drive a hard bargain for their players who are running down their contract, and there may not be huge offers for them to move on free transfers either. However, it works the other way, and Real may be forced to pay up for another year for Modric given the cost of replacing him with a player of similar quality.

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