Transfers - Manchester United contact Villarreal's Pau Torres over £50m summer move - Paper Round
Manchester United contact representatives of Villarreal defender Pau Torres over a potential summer transfer, AC Milan look to negotiate with Chelsea over the fee for Fikayo Tomori, Crystal Palace join the race to sign Marseille attacker Florian Thauvin and Jose Mourinho could be set for a shock reunion with Marouane Fellaini at Tottenham Hotspur. It's Monday's Paper Round...
Pau Torres of Villarreal during the UEFA Europa League match between Villarreal v Salzburg at the Estadio de la Ceramica on February 25, 2021 in Castellon Spain
Manchester United have stepped up their search for a new centre-back after contacting the representatives of Villarreal defender Pau Torres. The 24-year-old has been on the Premier League club's shortlist since last summer and United are keen to sign a partner for club captain Harry Maguire. Torres has a €50-million release clause, which increases to €65 million in the final 15 days of the summer transfer window. Real Madrid are also interested in the Spanish centre-half.
Paper Round's view: It's become quite apparent that a new centre-back is now a priority for Manchester United in the summer transfer market. Eurosport recently revealed that the Premier League club view Torres as a "prime target", alongside Sevilla's Jules Kounde, RB Leipzig's Ibrahima Konate and Real Madrid's Raphael Varane. The club invested a whopping £85 million in Maguire back in 2019, but his centre-back partner Victor Lindelof just isn't good enough to challenge for titles. Virgil van Dijk transformed Liverpool into European champions, which proves that signing a world-class central defender could help turn this Manchester United side into a real force.
AC Milan are hoping to sign Fikayo Tomori on a permanent basis this summer following a string of impressive performances from the on-loan Chelsea defender since joining the Italians in the winter transfer window. The Sun reveal that the Rossoneri negotiated a £25 million option-to-buy clause in Tomori's loan contract, but Milan will attempt to lower the fee. The Serie A side are struggling financially following the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on the sporting world and may be forced to put club captain Alessio Romagnoli up for sale in order to raise transfer funds.
Paper Round's view: Tomori was struggling at the start of this season. He had gone from a starter at Chelsea in the 2019-20 season to barely getting any minutes this campaign. Tomori passed up the opportunity to join West Ham on loan at the end of the summer window, but finally joined Milan in January. He has now broken his way into the first team at San Siro and there is talk about the club captain being sold to fund a permanent transfer for Tomori. It's been a great journey for the 23-year-old, who will be looking to play in the Champions League next season and work his way back into the England set-up ahead of the 2022 World Cup.
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Crystal Palace join race for Thauvin
Crystal Palace are ready to join the race to sign Marseille attacker Florian Thauvin, if the Eagles are unable to strike a deal with Watford for Ismaila Sarr. The Sun state that Sarr tops the south London club's summer shortlist, but Palace will struggle to complete the signing if Watford secure promotion to the Premier League this season. Thauvin's contract in Marseille is set to expire at the end of the current campaign and he is allowed to open negotiations with foreign clubs. AC Milan are already in talks with the Frenchman, who is looking to secure a contract worth around £115,000 a week.
Paper Round's view: Thauvin's time at Newcastle seems like an age ago. The 28-year-old has gone on to win a World Cup since his failed spell on Tyneside. There must be a part of him that would love to come back to the Premier League and prove a point... but would he really want to join Crystal Palace? Marseille played in the Champions League this season and it looks like AC Milan will qualify for Europe's elite competition next term. A move to Milan makes more sense than south London - unless his significant financial demands scupper an agreement with the Italian club.
Marouane Fellaini could be set to make a shock return to the Premier League this summer, with the Mail reporting that Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho wants to reunite with the former Manchester United midfielder. Fellaini left England in 2019 to join Chinese Super League club Shandong Luneng, but he is now looking for a route back to the Premier League in a bid to return to the Belgium national team. Spurs boss views the 33-year-old as a priority signing after the pair had a strong working relationship during their time together in Manchester.
Paper Round's view: This can't be true. There's no way that anybody could think this would be a good idea... except maybe Mourinho himself. The Portuguese boss is already skating on thin ice at Spurs and requesting to Daniel Levy that the club sign Fellaini would surely be the final nail in his coffin. When we start to see strange decisions from Mourinho in the transfer market, it usually starts to signal the end of his spell at a club. Will he still be in the dugout in north London next season? Probably not if he thinks Fellaini is the answer to his problems.