Chelsea in talks for De Ligt
Chelsea continue negotiations for Juventus central defender Matthijs de Ligt. The Netherlands international has a release clause of around £103 million but the Telegraph suggests that a player swap will form part of the arrangement. Going the other way could be Timo Werner or Christian Pulisic, and separately Chelsea want to bring back Nathan Ake from Manchester City.
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Paper Round’s view: Losing Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen while replacing them with Ake and De Ligt would represent a potential upgrade on the pairing, even if Rudiger is at the top of his game. Unfortunately for both Pulisic and Werner, neither of them have made the Premier League their own and moving one of them on would solve a problem at Stamford Bridge.
Xavi continues Barcelona rebuild
The Mirror reports that four players have been told that they can leave Barcelona this summer, and that they are not needed for first team training this pre-season. Xavi Hernandez has told home-grown pair Oscar Mingueza and Riqui Puig that they can move on, with contracts that expire next summer, while Martin Braithwaite and Samuel Umtiti are also surplus to requirements.
Paper Round’s view: Braithwaite was a stopgap solution who was not needed beyond the end of the first season he arrived, while Umtiti’s new contract might have made some kind of sense when agreed. However neither of them have an easy way back to the first team, and both Mingueza and Puig need to leave in order to get regular football at this stage of their career.
Pogba set for Juve switch
The Sun reveals that Paul Pogba’s deal with Juventus will be announced imminently. The 29-year-old will sign on a three-year contract, with a further 12-month option. With a basic wage of £150,000 a week, that will be topped up with a healthy signing-on fee. Juventus head Maurizio Arrivabene claimed: “Talks are progressing well with Pogba. This deal is gonna be key for us also on the commercial side.”
Paper Round’s view: The move seems almost certain and since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo last summer, the Italian giants now have a player with real star power. If he can rediscover the form that helped him to league title success in Serie A, then Juventus have found themselves a bargain and Pogba can end his career with a flourish after his Manchester United disaster.
Spurs closing in on Spence
Tottenham are continuing to act swiftly in the transfer market as they look set to sign Middlesbrough defender Djed Spence this summer. The 21-year-old will cost around £15-16m and after spending last season with Premier League new boys Nottingham Forest, he had impressed Spurs, who are also set to sign Richarlison from Everton in due course.
Paper Round’s view: Spurs have done what appears to be a brilliant job so far in the window, leaving Antonio Conte with few excuses if the team fail to progress next season. Spence is clearly one for the future but with the club short on quality fresh names under Jose Mourinho and Mauricio Pochettino before him, Daniel Levy will want to see a health return on investment.
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