Atletico keen on Pique
The Mirror reports that Atletico Madrid are keen on signing Gerard Pique from Barcelona, with the 35-year-old no longer a regular under Xavi Hernandez. Barcelona want his huge wages off the books, and Atletico are willing to take him on - and could make a move in January. There are also negotiations over Antoine Griezmann’s loan-to-buy option, which may be altered so that he can play more minutes without triggering the current £40 million clause.
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Paper Round’s view: Griezmann is still a quality player but with only a few years left on the clock it seems that Atletico do not consider him good value at £40m. With Barcelona struggling for cash, there could be a compromise where the cost for the Frenchman is reduced, but Atletico take on Pique in January, saving Barcelona millions in wages.
Liverpool consider Firmino swap
The Sun reports that Liverpool could offer up Brazilian striker Roberto Firmino in exchange for Memphis Depay. The 28-year-old Barcelona striker is out of contract at the end of the season, just like Firmino. That could lead to both clubs agreeing to swap their respective players in order to avoid losing them for nothing on a free transfer at the end of the year.
Paper Round’s view: Depay is no longer a guaranteed first-team starter for Barcelona because while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has departed for Chelsea, they brought in Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich. Liverpool meanwhile are looking to refresh their front free and now they have Darwin Nunez, Mo Salah on a new deal and Diogo Jota, they can move Firmino on.
Newcastle set to sign Garang Kuol
The Daily Mail claims that Newcastle will soon sign 18-year-old forward Garang Kuol from Australian side Central Coast Mariners. The teenager can play across the front three and has just broken into the Australian national team. He will cost £300,000 and will soon be sent out on loan in order to avoid work permit issues before he gets the chance to link up with his new side.
Paper Round’s view: Stuttgart and Barcelona had both been keen on Kuol who seems to have plenty of potential. That Newcastle are now able to mix it with some of the bigger European teams suggests that their reputation is starting to grow on the continent following their takeover, but the low transfer fee also hints that they are still not going to overpay in the market.
Tensions at PSG over Mbappe
Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe is a source of tension at the French club, reports Spanish newspaper Marca. The 23-year-old has praised the freedom he gets at international level for the French team, while at PSG some think he has too much influence. Both Lionel Messi and his friend Neymar have a difficult relationship with the forward, who just signed a new deal.
Paper Round’s view: Mbappe continues to contribute exceptionally well on the pitch and for as long as that continues, everyone at the club will either want to or have to find out a way to deal with Mbappe. However with Neymar and Messi on enormous wages as well, the difficulty will be managing three huge names at once while finally challenging for the Champions League.
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