Paris Saint-Germain want Christian Eriksen, the Champions League could rival any new Super League, Barcelona's squad is split and Mikel Arteta continues to force Mesut Ozil out.
PSG linked to Eriksen
French champions Paris Saint-Germain are keen on Inter Milan playmaker Christian Eriksen. The 28-year-old former Spurs player has failed to impress in Italy and manager Antonio Conte is willing to let him go in the January transfer window. He cost £17.5 million from Tottenham last winter but has struggled to make an impression, and is no longer a regular first choice.
Paper Round’s view: Eriksen is the wrong kind of player for modern football. Or rather, he can't operate on the wings with his lack of pace, and if the other players around him are superior to him then there is no reason to build the side around him. In France, PSG have such dominance that they can afford to accommodate more luxury players, so he may fit in better there.
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Champions League to expand
Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has confirmed a Telegraph Sport story that the Champions League will be expanded for the 2024/2025 season, when the format is rejigged. The increase in numbers comes at a time when it appears FIFA may be ready to launch its own European super league, which could put the Champions League’s future in doubt.
Paper Round’s view: The Glazers have reportedly been unwilling to sell for years for anything less than a huge offer, and perhaps this is why. The Premier League continues to attract vast sums, the Champions League is getting richer, and now the super league could add hundreds of millions of pounds more to their bottom line. The richest clubs will continue to stay that way.
Barcelona squad at odds over pay
Barcelona continue their struggles off the pitch, with Spanish newspaper Marca reporting that there is a split in the dressing room against some major figures. Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet, Frenkie de Jong and Marc-Andre ter Stegen have all signed new deals, which goes against the spirit of the agreement made by most players to avoid negotiations over a pay cut.
Paper Round’s view: It is hard to work out what has happened here, but the notion of worker solidarity amongst football players is rarely expressed. If the four players have reneged on a deal with their teammates and money is involved, then it is hard to see how the club will get back on an even keel given the dreadful financial position they have and the timebomb of Lionel Messi’s contract.
Arteta rules out Ozil comeback as he nears exit
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta appeared to rule out any chance that Mesut Ozil has of making his way back into the first team. The 31-year-old was left out of their Premier League squad and Arteta made it clear he is dropped for footballing reasons, with the Mirror quoting him as saying: "Here I feel at the moment, today, that I have failed. I want the best possible Mesut for the team. It is my responsibility. It is nothing related to any behaviour or pay cuts. It’s not true. It’s my decision.”
Paper Round’s view: There is little point placing any great faith on what Arteta says given the cynicism needed to negotiate Premier League football. Ozil is clearly a talented player and given his huge wages, he might as well have been kept on in the squad. As it is, it is a huge financial waste and continued shoddy treatment for a player who loves the club.