Mbappe set on PSG departure
Kylian Mbappe still plans on leaving Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the season, reports Spanish newspaper Marca. The French international forward is out of contract at the end of the season and while he may even take a pay cut to move to Real Madrid, his heart is on winning trophies, so unless PSG overhaul their strategy, the 23-year-old striker will move on.
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Paper Round’s view: Mbappe is the best young striker in the world and in a couple of years it is clear it will be between him and Erling Haaland for who is the greatest to lead the line in club football. With Real the kind of club who win Champions Leagues and La Ligas even when they are far from their best, it will probably reward him to move on from PSG this summer.
Arsenal keen on Tielemans
Premier League side Arsenal hope to sign Youri Tielemans from Leicester City, with the midfielder out of contract at the end of next season, and with no hint of a new deal on the horizon. The 25-year-old Belgian international could step into the middle of the part for Mikel Arteta, as Mohamed Elneny’s contract is due to expire and Granit Xhaka could move on in the summer.
Paper Round’s view: Xhaka’s relationship with the club has improved from its nadir, certainly, but he has not matured enough to be reliable, especially if Arteta is aiming for the consistency required to secure regular Champions League football. Tielemans has shown better quality and sense on the pitch than both Xhaka and Elneny, so he would represent a clear upgrade.
Azpilicueta linked to Barcelona switch
With Chelsea unable to sign their players to new contracts due to the sanctions placed upon them due to owner Roman Abramovich, they have been left vulnerable to players leaving on free transfers. The Sun relays claims in Spain that Cesar Azpilicueta will sign for a two-year deal at Barcelona, and he will be joined by younger teammate Andreas Christensen, who is also free to negotiate deals elsewhere.
Paper Round’s view: Azpilicueta is not quite the player he once was, but with Christensen also on his way and Antonio Rudiger also looking like he has decided to quit, that is a huge hole left in the backline at Stamford Bridge. If Todd Boehly’s takeover is confirmed then one of his first tasks will be to fund recruitment of at least two new defenders for Thomas Tuchel.
Villa still want Coutinho
Philippe Coutinho started on the bench for Aston Villa as they won away at Burnley on Saturday, but their manager Steven Gerrard claimed the club still want to keep him next season. Barcelona are believed to value the 29-year-old Brazilian at around £30m, but Gerrard said of his player that: “‘We want Philippe Coutinho here for sure,” reported the Mail.
Paper Round’s view: Coutinho has not stood out as an exceptional presence for Villa but with Gerrard the team have done an adequate team to suggest there is a foundation being built that can lead to improvement. The problem for Coutinho might be that a hefty transfer fee as well as his generous wages might be that he is no longer value for money unless there is compromise from the player and Barca.
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