Premier League transfers: Manchester City prepare to launch £100m Erling Haaland bid - Paper Round
Manchester City look to beat their rivals to the signing of Erling Haaland by launching a £100 million bid this summer. Elsewhere, Aymeric Laporte refuses to confirm his future belongs at the Etihad Stadium, West Ham United plan to return with a bid for Sevilla forward Youssef En-Nesyri at the end of the season and the UEFA Champions League could be set for a change. It's Friday's Paper Round...
Erling Haaland of Borussia Dortmund looks dejected during the Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and 1. FSV Mainz 05 at Signal Iduna Park on January 16, 2021 in Dortmund, Germany.
Manchester City are preparing to launch a £100 million bid for Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland this summer, according to the Mirror. The 20-year-old has been lighting up the Bundesliga since his move to Dortmund 13 months ago and has attracted the attention of Europe's finest. Haaland has a £68 million release clause in his contract which becomes active in 2022, but Manchester City are ready to gazump their rivals to the Norwegian's signature by submitting a bid in excess of the release clause this summer. The Mirror reveal that City would be willing to offer Haaland a contract worth £400,000 a week.
Paper Round's view: Sergio Aguero looks likely to end his 10-year stay at Manchester City this summer as his contract edges closer to its expiry date... could Erling Haaland be the ideal replacement? Gabriel Jesus has failed to prove his consistent quality over the past four years acting as Aguero's deputy so it would be a huge surprise to see him promoted to become the first-choice striker. Haaland has proved himself as a prolific goalscorer throughout his rise to the top. Although he will cost over £30 million extra to secure this summer, it would be worth it for City, who are in the market for a striker. It would also give them an edge over rival clubs, who would be hoping to wait until the cheaper release clause becomes active.
Staying at Manchester City, the Star report that Aymeric Laporte could consider his future at the Etihad Stadium this summer. The 26-year-old has fallen down the pecking order in Manchester this season thanks to the unbreakable partnership of Ruben Dias and John Stones. Laporte was coy about his future when asked, stating that he "will see what happens" before the end of the season. The former Athletic Club centre-back will be hoping to battle his way back into the team to convince himself of his future at City.
Paper Round's view: It seems a bit like a non-story. Realistically, no club could afford to sign the 26-year-old this summer due to the financial impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Laporte may have fallen down the pecking order at Man City - but it is tough to drop Stones or Dias at the moment. The duo have formed an unstoppable partnership together, despite the England international being linked to an exit all summer. Laporte will back himself to get make a return to the City team. There are plenty of games left to be played this season - especially as City are competing to win every trophy possible - so squad depth is vital.
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West Ham to return for En-Nesyri
West Ham United are ready to return with a bid for Sevilla forward Youssef En-Nesyri at the end of the season after failing to sign the 23-year-old in the winter transfer window. The Star report that Hammers boss David Moyes is in the hunt for a new striker to replace Sebastien Haller as he looks to build a "new West Ham" under his management. The east London club's £27 million bid was rebuffed by Sevilla in January, with the Spanish side holding out for £35 million. Sevilla expect West Ham to renew their interest in En-Nesyri this summer.
Paper Round's view: West Ham really haven't had much luck with strikers in the past... but - as previously stated - David Moyes is looking to build a "new West Ham". The Hammers are flying under his management this season and they currently sit in fifth place in the Premier League table. West Ham recently sold Haller to Ajax in the winter window, but failed to sign a replacement. Michail Antonio is doing a fine job of filling the gap on a short-term basis, but the London club need more than just Antonio. En-Nesyri is having a great season in Spain, so it make sense why Sevilla wanted to hold on to him. Maybe they might be willing to cash in on the Moroccan this summer... for the right price.
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Get ready for a new-look Champions League
The UEFA Champions League could be set for a change, with the Guardian reporting that Europe's top leagues are planning to meet on Friday to discuss a new-look proposal. UEFA are looking to reform the elite European competition by replacing the current eight groups of four with a single league format. The 'Swiss system' would see teams play 10 matches before the knock-out stages, increasing the number of fixtures for clubs involved.
Paper Round's view: Get ready for a new-look Champions League. The current group-stage format is tired. You can usually predict the two clubs that end up qualifying for the latter stages before a ball is even kicked, so shaking up the format might make things more interesting. However, 10 matches before the knock-out stage might be a bit much. It would mean the end of top teams playing in the League Cup in England and that would definitely devalue the secondary domestic competition. Despite all this... anything but a European Super League would be great.