Real Madrid join Atletico Madrid in race for Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette - Paper Round
Real Madrid go head-to-head with rivals Atletico Madrid over Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette. Elsewhere, Jose Mourinho holds 'crisis' talks with Gareth Bale at Tottenham, Mesut Ozil arrives in Turkey ahead of a move to Fenerbahce and West Ham hunt for a new striker in Ligue 1. It's Monday's Paper Round...
Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal celebrates after scoring their team's fourth goal during the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Arsenal at The Hawthorns on January 02, 2021 in West Bromwich, England.
Published 18/01/2021 at 01:17 GMT | Updated 18/01/2021 at 08:26 GMT
See you later, Laca?
Arsenal could be willing to cash in on Alexandre Lacazette and Real Madrid have joined local rivals Atletico Madrid in the race for the French forward's signature. The Sun reveal that Gunners boss Mikel Arteta is no longer seeing eye-to-eye with Lacazette and he is no longer in his manager's long-term plans. The 29-year-old has just 18 months remaining on his current contract and Arsenal have "no plans" to discuss a new deal, opening the door to a potential summer exit. Real Madrid are keen to replace transfer flop Luka Jovic and find competition for Karim Benzema, while Lacazette has been a long-term target for Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid.
Paper Round's view: Arsenal will need to sell Lacazette this summer, otherwise they risk losing him for free the following year. It's been a tough few years for the Frenchman in north London. Gunners fans were desperate for a new striker and rejoiced when Lacazette was signed by Arsene Wenger back in 2017 - only for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to join the Premier League club just six months later. Lacazette has played second fiddle to Aubameyang ever since really. It might be harsh but his future doesn't lie at Arsenal and if the club can sell him for a decent fee, they will be able to invest the money in other areas of the squad. A move to either Madrid club would be a step up to Champions League football as well. It could be a win-win if a transfer were to happen.
Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho has reportedly held "crisis talks" with on-loan forward Gareth Bale. The Portugese boss' voice was picked up by a microphone asking "You want to stay here? Or go to Real Madrid and play no football?" in a video released by Spurs. The Sun reveal that Mourinho was actually relaying a conversation he had with Bale to his coaching staff. The Welshman has made just one Premier League start since his fairytale return to Tottenham back in the summer transfer window. The Sun report that Mourinho is "running out of patience" with Bale after initially not even being keen on the club signing him on loan from Real Madrid for the season.
Paper Round's view: It was meant to be a fairytale return to north London - but it certainly hasn't worked out that way. Bale's minutes have partially been limited by injury, but have mainly been limited due to the fact that Mourinho simply doesn't fancy him. The 31-year-old has been an unused substitute in the past two Premier League matches - but the most telling sign from his manager was the fact that he wasn't called upon when Tottenham desperately needed a goal in their 1-1 draw against Fulham last week. Mourinho brought on Erik Lamela and Carlos Vinicius and kept one unused substitution. That speaks volumes to a player like Bale... so it seems like the Wales international won't be staying at Spurs next season.
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Ozil arrives in Turkey
Mesut Ozil has arrived in Turkey ahead of a transfer to Fenerbahce. The World Cup winner has been linked with an Arsenal exit all season after being frozen out in north London by Mikel Arteta. Ozil failed to secure a spot in either of Arsenal's Premier League or Europa League squads and has not featured for the Gunners since March. The English club reportedly reached an agreement with Ozil to terminate his contract so he would be free to move to the club he supported as a child. The 32-year-old said his goodbyes to Arsenal staff and teammates at the London Colney training ground and boarded a plane to Istanbul on Sunday. Fenerbahce posted images of Ozil on social media upon his arrival in the Turkish capital.
Paper Round's view: We've been waiting on this one to be completed for a while now. It makes complete sense for all parties involved and it could work out really well for Ozil. Arsenal were desperate to get rid of the German and free up some of their wage budget, while Ozil just wanted to play football again and Fenerbahce will be delighted they have managed to secure one of the biggest names in football. Arsenal supporters will have contrasting memories of Ozil but let's not kid ourselves - the World Cup winner had some great moments for the Gunners. Mesut Ozil made Arsenal win again and nobody should forget that.
West Ham are turning to France in their search for a new forward, according to the Telegraph. David Moyes has his eye on Montpellier striker Gaetan Laborde, who could be available for a £16-million fee in the January transfer window. The Ligue 1 side are "willing to listen to offers" and West Ham believe Laborde would quickly adapt to the Premier League. The Hammers have also identified Reims striker Boulaye Dia and Blackburn's Adam Armstrong as potential options to replace Sebastien Haller, who departed east London for Ajax earlier this month. Former forward Marko Arnautovic could also be available to re-sign from Shanghai SIPG.
Paper Round's view: West Ham really do have bad luck with strikers. It's been years since the Hammers have found a half-decent player to consistently lead their line and the £45-million signing of Haller pretty much epitomised their luck in the club's search for a goalscorer. It's encouraging that they are linked with Laborde, who Montpellier are willing to sell and the club believe he can adapt quickly. The ability to adapt to the Premier League cannot be underrated. Arnautovic would be a step in the wrong direction, while Armstrong might not be Premier League-ready. Dia sounds like a promising talent so signing a striker from Ligue 1 might be West Ham's most exciting option.