Lingard to leave Man Utd on loan?
Jesse Lingard is looking to leave Manchester United this month after requesting a transfer in the winter window, but the Telegraph report that the final decision will come down the club's board. Red Devils' manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wanted to keep the 28-year-old at Old Trafford as the club are in the hunt for silverware this season, however he "reluctantly agreed" the transfer request from Lingard. Newcastle United, Sheffield United, West Bromwich Albion and West Ham United are all interested in taking the Manchester United midfielder on loan for the remainder of the season, while there is also interest from abroad.
Paper Round's view: It will be a shame to see Lingard leave his boyhood club but it's definitely time for him to go. The English midfielder has struggled to rediscover his form of the 2017-18, which saw him become a vital part of the Three Lions squad that reached the semi-finals of the World Cup in Russia. A move away from Old Trafford would represent a much-needed fresh start for Lingard, who just needs to get back to playing football once again. West Ham would be an interesting move. The Hammers are having a great season under former-Manchester United boss David Moyes and it would allow Lingard to express himself creatively without being drawn into a relegation battle.
Big Sam is desperate for a striker
West Bromwich Albion boss Sam Allardyce is desperate to bring some attacking reinforcements in the winter transfer window as the Baggies battle to avoid relegation from the English top-flight. West Brom have scored just 15 goals in 19 league matches so far this season and sit in 19th place in the Premier League table. The Telegraph report that former Leicester City forward Ahmed Musa will join up with Allardyce's side this week on trial, with the Baggies boss debating whether to hand the unattached 28-year-old a short-term deal at the club. West Brom are also interested in Crystal Palace's Christian Benteke and Newcastle's Andy Carroll as they look to increase attacking options at the Hawthorns.
Paper Round's view: Desperate times calls for desperate measures. Musa, Benteke, Carroll... Big Sam's shortlist of strikers is bereft of inspiration. The West Brom manager is probably just looking for a relatively-cheap option, who has Premier League experience... but still. Signing one of those strikers wouldn't really fill fans with confidence that their will be able to survive a Premier League relegation battle. However, it's better than nothing. Musa has offered glimpses of quality in his past - albeit a long time ago - and he would arrive without a transfer fee and the short-term deal would mean there is no real commitment to him. It could be worth the risk for Allardyce.
Klopp creates 'huge problem' for Real Madrid – Euro Papers
Palace pursue Gray in January move
Crystal Palace have launched a bid to bring Leicester City winger Demarai Gray to south London this month, according to the Athletic. The 24-year-old has just six months remaining on his current contract at the King Power stadium, so would be able to leave Leicester for a cut-price fee in the winter transfer window. Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen had a €2 million accepted for Gray, but the former England under-21 international is expected to stay in the Premier League. Everton, Newcastle United, Southampton and West Bromwich Albion are all interested in rivalling Palace for the signing of Gray.
Paper Round's view: It's no surprise that there are clubs queuing up to sign Gray. The 24-year-old's appearances over the past year may have been limited, but he's clearly a talented player who still has time to reach his potential. The fact that he is home-grown makes him more of an attractive acquisition too. Home-grown players with Premier League experience are never usually this cheap. It's a shame that Gray wasn't interested in exploring a potential move to Bayer Leverkusen. We're seeing more young English stars taking a chance on moving abroad and Bayer Leverkusen are playing an attractive brand of football while sitting in third place in the Bundesliga table.
Get ready for Benitez v Gerrard
Rafa Benitez is set to return to Europe after a spell in China, with the Mirror revealing that the Spaniard will replace Neil Lennon as the new manager of Celtic. The 60-year-old quit Chinese Super League club Dalian Pro last week, citing the coronavirus pandemic as the reason behind his decision. Benitez is in line to replace Lennon at Parkhead as the Bhoys' bitter rivals Rangers look likely to end Celtic's run of dominance in Scotland. The Glasgow club were battling to win their tenth consecutive league title this season, but Benitez's former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has led Rangers to a 23-point lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership table.
Paper Round's view: Benitez v Gerrard is a battle that everybody will want to watch. Celtic v Rangers is already a huge rivalry but when you add in a former Liverpool manager against his captain, it makes the competition so much more intense. Will Benitez definitely be interested in going to the Glasgow club? It's tough. Celtic are obviously a huge club, but Benitez could get a job in a more competitive league. Surely there are Premier League, La Liga and Serie A sides that would jump at the opportunity to take the Spaniard on. However, he might relish the opportunity to bring the league title back to Celtic and get the club to a more competitive level in Europe.