Real Madrid ready to swoop for Foden
The Mirror reports that Manchester City’s Phil Foden is wanted by Real Madrid. The paper claims that Foden’s lack of regular Premier League minutes could hold him back, and he may have to move on if he is to develop to his full potential. One destination could be Real, who are keen on the 20-year-old England international if Pep Guardiola does not start giving him more opportunities.
Paper Round’s view: Foden is an exceptional young England talent, and in some respects he is unlucky to emerge at the same time as other bright prospects. He will have to fight hard to maintain a place in the England national team, so even though he is with the best coach in the world, he may choose to go elsewhere so that he can play every week.
Is it the end of the road for Hazard at Madrid? – Euro Papers
Arsenal turn attention to Brandt
Arsenal were once close to signing Houssem Aouar from Lyon, but have changed their mind about the £55m-rated 22-year-old playmaker. Instead, the Sun claims, Mikel Arteta is looking to Julian Brandt, Borussia Dortmund’s 24-year-old German midfielder. The London club are looking for more creativity in their midfield given the absence of Mesut Ozil from the first team squad.
Paper Round’s view: Brandt has been inconsistently impressive at Borussia Dortmund, and while he has plenty of skill, it is not clear that what Arsenal need is another player who can't be relied upon to perform in midfield. Ozil, we all know, can function to inspire players around him as long as he is given the assistance to do so, and perhaps the pragmatic option is to just bring him back into the fold for the rest of his contract.
Players upset with Ozil exclusion
There is some hope that Arsenal may be forced to give Ozil a second chance under Arteta, after all. The Telegraph carries a story which suggests that the exclusion of the German playmaker has not just cost the club on the pitch, but is one of the root causes of disquiet amongst players behind the scenes at Arsenal. One problem is that there is another group of players who agree he should not be brought back.
Paper Round’s view: This is a problem caused entirely by the club. By trying to take a stand in order to force a player out, it showed naivety. At 32, Ozil could probably have done with a year off to extend his career, and he gets more than a million pounds a month to do just that. A sensible way forward would have been to phase him out over the course of this season and none of the squad would have been so upset.
Real dilemma over Vazquez
Lucas Vazquez’s improved performances for Real Madrid have left the Spanish club in a quandary, according to Marca. The 29-year-old was set to extend his deal in 2019 but nothing was finalised, and now his deal is set to expire at the end of the season. While Sergio Ramos appears to have agreed a renewal in principle, it is not certain that Vazquez will join him.
Paper Round’s view: At 29, and with huge amounts of experience, Vazquez could likely pick up a hefty contract if he moves on a free transfer at the end of the season. Teams in England and Italy would probably be interested. Such a move would give him the chance to earn a huge amount of cash in his last big contract before retirement, but the pull of Real’s glamour may keep him in the Spanish capital.