Solskjaer's defensive shortlist revealed

Manchester United are targeting a new centre-back signing in January after their disappointing start to the 2020-21 Premier League season. According to the Star, Red Devils' boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has identified two young options as the club search for a central defensive partner for club captain Harry Maguire. The two defenders are Sevilla's Jules Kounde and Villarreal's Pau Torres - who both ply their trade in Spain's La Liga. Kounde, 21, is valued at £63 million and was wanted by United's 'noisy neighbours' Manchester City this summer. Torres would represent a cheaper alternative but Villarreal are still demanding at least £45 million for the 23-year-old.

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Paper Round's view: Why has it taken Manchester United three Premier League matches to realise they need a new centre-back? It's absolutely baffling. There have been calls all summer long for the club to invest in a new centre-back. Obviously it's been a tough selling market due to the impacts of Covid-19, but United only managed to sell Chris Smalling and they still have a load of deadwood on their books. Eric Bailly, Victor Lindelof, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo are all still at the club and none of them are good enough to partner Maguire - who himself is in the worst form of his career. Manchester United had an awful summer transfer window and now they are paying the price for not signing a top-quality centre-half.

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Breaking down Bale’s 'toxic' Real Madrid relationship

The Telegraph have reported the story behind Gareth Bale's "toxic" relationships at Real Madrid with the media, the fans, his teammates and, most importantly, his manager. The 31-year-old recently returned to Tottenham on a season-long loan, with Los Blancos paying over 50 per cent of Bale's £600,000-per-week salary. The Telegraph reveal the Welshman's relationship with Real boss Zinedine Zidane initially broke down over a disagreement regarding his training methods and ended with the pair not even on speaking terms. The press also failed to praise his charity work and spread lies about his Spanish speaking abilities. The report states that Bayern Munich and Manchester United were interested in signing Bale, but he eventually ended up returning to Spurs after seven years at the Bernabeu.

Paper Round's view: Bale's relationship with Real Madrid fans and the Spanish media was well-documented, but there isn't too much information on his relationship with Zidane. It seems like his initial argument with the French manager came during his first spell in charge at Real Madrid so Zidane's return to the Bernabeu dugout in early 2019 wasn't good news for Bale. It was never going to work out. The Telegraph state that Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy had been planning Bale's Spurs return for around two years - so he must have known about their relationship breakdown. Hopefully for Bale's sake, he can rediscover his form in north London this season.

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Spurs asked to stump up £18m for Swansea star

Swansea have slapped an asking price of £18 million on their 22-year-old defender Joe Rodon, according to the Telegraph. Tottenham Hotspur have declared their interest in the Welsh international, but will have to complete any potential deal before the domestic transfer window closes on Friday at 17:00. Spurs boss Jose Mourinho is keen on adding another centre-back option to his squad following Eric Dier's hamstring injury, which saw him withdraw from the England squad earlier this week. The Telegraph report reveals that Spurs have already submitted a bid of around £9 million plus "substantial add-ons should Rodon fulfil his potential".

Paper Round's view: Tottenham were linked to signing a centre-back before the transfer windows across Europe's major leagues closed. The north London club reportedly made an ambitious late loan move for Chelsea's Antonio Rudiger, but had no luck. Joe Rodon is really highly-rated and is only 22 years old. If Spurs can bring him in on the domestic deadline day, they will be adding a potential top-class talent to their squad. £18 million isn't an awful fee for a young international, who has plenty of potential and is confident with his feet.

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Butland set for Premier League return

Crystal Palace are set to make a late move for Stoke City goalkeeper Jack Butland on the EFL transfer deadline day, according to the Telegraph. The 27-year-old has fallen out of favour at the Bet365 stadium, losing his place to Adam Davies so far this season in the Championship and the Carabao Cup. However, the Stoke stopper could still make a return to the Premier League after two years outside of the top division. Crystal Palace are interested in bringing Butland to south London as competition for Vincente Guaita and could even sign him on an initial loan deal. The former England international's current contract is set to expire next summer, which could allow him to sign for Palace without a transfer fee in June.

Paper Round's view: It seems like a strange move at first glance, but realistically it's pretty risk-free for Palace. Butland isn't going to be first team, but the Eagles will hope that the 27-year-old will be able to rediscover his form at Selhurst Park. If he moves to the Premier League side, it could be on a season-long loan, which will allow the club to assess his quality before a potential permanent transfer next summer as a free agent. Palace boss Roy Hodgson has worked with Butland before, giving him his senior England debut back in 2012. Hopefully that could be key and give Butland the confidence boost that is needed to bring him back to the top level once more.

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