Manchester United to launch Dayot Upamecano bid next summer - Paper Round
Manchester United look to bounce back from a disappointing summer window by drawing up a 2021 bid for RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano. Elsewhere, Liverpool's injury crisis at centre-back deepens and Brighton offer right-back Tariq Lamptey a new deal to deter interest from Bayern Munich. It's Wednesday's Paper Round...
Dayot Upamecano of RB Leipzig looks on during the Bundesliga match between RB Leipzig and 1. FSV Mainz 05 at Red Bull Arena on September 20, 2020 in Leipzig, Germany.
Manchester United are wasting no time in planning their transfers ahead of next summer. According to a report from the Times, the Premier League club are planning to launch a bid to sign RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano in 2021. United considered the possibility of signing the France international during the summer transfer window, but Upamecano ended up signing a new three-year deal with the German side. However, a cut-price release clause was included in the 22-year-old's new contract, meaning he will be able to leave Leipzig for as little as £38 million from next summer.
Paper Round's view: Manchester United are desperate for a new defender and signing Upamecano would be a huge statement. The Frenchman will be one of Europe's most sought-after centre-backs next summer due to his £38 million release clause - so United will need to do all they can to convince Upamecano to head to Manchester. Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have the best seat in the house on Wednesday night as United host RB Leipzig at Old Trafford and he will be hoping to show Upamecano what he could potentially become a part of.
The Express have revealed that Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer missed out on three top transfer targets this summer, which resulted in the signings of Donny van de Beek, Edinson Cavani and Facundo Pellistri. Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward's summer "failure" led to alternatives being signed after the Red Devils missed out on English trio Jack Grealish, Jadon Sancho and Jude Bellingham. Van de Beek was brought in after the club was out-priced by Aston Villa for their club captain Grealish. The report states that the signing the Dutch midfielder wasn't "Plan A, B or C" for Solskjaer - which has resulted in Van de Beek's slow start for United.
Paper Round's view: It's barely a secret that United had a disappointing summer in the transfer market. The club chased Jadon Sancho all summer and got nowhere with Borussia Dortmund - who set their asking price at the start of the window. Jude Bellingham followed in the footsteps of Erling Haaland by rejecting the opportunity to join United and heading to Dortmund instead. The Jack Grealish angle is interesting though. The report reveals that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer really wanted the Villa captain. If the United boss didn't want Donny van de Beek, it will end in tears for the Dutchman. Grealish would've fit in perfectly in Solskjaer's front three, but Van de Beek doesn't. It's not really a like-for-like alternative from Woodward.
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Liverpool's injury nightmare continues
Liverpool suffered another huge blow on Tuesday night, despite their 2-0 victory against FC Midtjylland, after makeshift centre-back Fabinho limped off the Anfield pitch after just half an hour with a hamstring injury. Reds boss Jurgen Klopp later admitted that Fabinho's injury is "not good" and the "last thing we needed" after the Brazilian joined Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip on the injury list. 19-year-old Rhys Williams came on for Fabinho and managed to help Liverpool keep a clean sheet and Klopp could be forced to start the youngster in this weekend's Premier League clash against West Ham.
Paper Round's view: It's an absolute nightmare for Liverpool really. Klopp will be fuming with himself after he made the decision to enter the 2020-21 Premier League season with just three recognised senior centre-backs in his squad. Van Dijk was obviously a huge and unexpected blow, but Gomez and Matip have both struggled with various injuries over the past few seasons. Manchester City's Premier League title defence was thwarted last season due to a long-term injury to star centre-back Aymeric Laporte and a lack of sufficient cover... and now the same thing could happen to Liverpool in this campaign. Who knew that having a strong and cohesive backline is vital to winning titles?
Brighton are set to hand a bumper new contract to defender Tariq Lamptey, despite his arrival on the south coast coming just 10 months ago. The former Chelsea full-back has impressed since joining the Seagulls from west London and has even attracted interest from European champions Bayern Munich and Spanish side Sevilla. The 20-year-old was name-checked by Wayne Rooney in his Times column earlier this month as he urged his former club Manchester United to sign Lamptey. Brighton are ready to offer the English full-back a "substantial" pay rise, with his current contract worth around £14,000 per week.
Paper Round's view: It makes sense for Brighton to reward one of their star performers, while deterring interest from some of Europe's biggest clubs at the same times. Chelsea might regret letting Lamptey leave in the long-term, but he would've struggled to get game-time ahead of club captain Cesar Azpilicueta and fellow emerging youngster Reece James. A move to Brighton was one that took courage and the 20-year-old hasn't looked back since his arrival on the south coast. If Lamptey continues to play at the same level, it won't be long before he is back at a top club once again - but fair play to Brighton for trying to hold onto him for as long as they can.