Real won’t move for Pobga

Zinedine Zidane remains keen on a move for Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba, according to Spanish newspaper Marca. The 27-year-old Frenchman also wants to make the switch, as does the player’s agent, Mino Raiola. However Florentino Perez is unwilling to deal with the agent for anything but small deals, and the transfer fee and wage demands are prohibitive.

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Paper Round’s view: Clearly, Pogba has the talent to be excellent when he wants to be. But after four years of not bothering for his club, anybody serious would be put off and could just sign someone professional instead. Given the huge wage demands during the fallout from the coronavirus, the most likely outcome of all this is that he just gets a new contract at Old Trafford.

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Raiola plots Juventus switch

It may be no problem if Pogba does not end up with Real Madrid, reports the Mirror, who suggest that the agent is instead keen to get Pogba back to Juventus. The Italian club are hard up at the moment, which could lead to the exit of Paulo Dybala, who has fallen down the pecking order at the club, and the arrival of Gianluigi Donnarumma. AC Milan are concerned they can't afford the goalkeeper’s wage demands.

Paper Round’s view: Juventus are one of the best operators in the transfer market and if they sell Dybala that may help them deal with the weight of Cristiano Ronaldo’s wages. One option may even be to offer their Portuguese striker back to United as a swap, given they would be approaching the end of their respective deals. Gianluigi Buffon is now 42, which means that a replacement will be needed soon.

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United plan Almada transfer

The Sun reports that Manchester United are now favourites to sign Velez Sarsfield teenager Thiago Almada. The 19-year-old winger, who also plays as a midfielder, has a £23 million release clause, though there is strong competition from Premier League rivals Arsenal. United have been amassing young talent recently, and the Argentine would join Facundo Pellistri and Amad Diallo as another prospect.

Paper Round’s view: Signing young talent is a decent strategy if they can develop them to be ready for the first team in the relatively near future. That will take United’s expenditure on teenagers to around £60 million in a few months, and considering they still have an awful back line with the exception of new arrival Alex Telles, it does seem like an unnecessary gamble.

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Willems open to Newcastle return

Jetro Willems enjoyed a promising start to his loan at Newcastle United last season until a cruciate ligament injury sent him to the sidelines for months. He is now ready to play again but the Mail reports that the 26-year-old Dutch international is not keen to sign a new deal with Eintracht Frankfurt, and his agent has said that he would be happy to consider a return to Newcastle, being free to sign a pre-contract in January.

Paper Round’s view: Willems impressed in his loan at Newcastle before the injury and it might have been expected that he would convert his stay into a permanent deal. If he can prove his fitness in the remaining months of the season, perhaps with another loan deal to Newcastle, then the club would probably be attracted to a cheap signing who knows the Premier League.

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23/02/2021 AT 09:05