Dortmund set Bellingham asking price
Spanish newspaper Marca reports that Borussia Dortmund’s 19-year-old midfielder Jude Bellingham is keen to join Real Madrid, but teams such as Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City are also all keen. The German side hope to extend his contract to 2025, and would only consider selling if there was a bid of €150 million.
United line up £50m Gakpo as Ronaldo eyes Sporting return - Paper Round
Paper Round’s view: Given the price of footballers these days, €150m for a teenager with bright prospects, plus the premium paid for English players, that seems more or less as expected. While Bellingham might prefer to sign for Real Madrid, they are perhaps the club who least need midfield reinforcements after signing Aurelien Tchouameni and Eduardo Camavinga.
Dembele has Barca release clause
It had appeared that Ousmane Dembele would be leaving Barcelona last summer, but the 25-year-old French international instead signed on for a further two seasons with the Spaniards. The Daily Mail reveals that the two-year contract gave him a raise despite other players taking pay cuts, and there is also a release clause of £43.7m that kicks in for next summer only.
Paper Round’s view: Real needed Dembele to stay as they struggled to afford to rebuild the squad, and Dembele’s upturn in form had demonstrated the player he can be when at his best. There is a problem, though. From next summer the speculation is going to kick in again as the player will then be just 12 months from being able to leave on a free transfer.
United face battle for Endrick
Manchester United are just one team in the hunt for Palmeiras’ 16-year-old striker Endrick. Newcastle United and Tottenham are also keen, while Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain are ahead in the race for the player, with PSG the current favourites. Endrick has a £35m release clause and is expected to receive a huge offer from Real.
Paper Round’s view: If Bellingham is going for €150m then it makes sense to look for even younger talent in order to save money. At just 16, Endrick has plenty of potential and could yet be one of football’s next bright sparks, but still seems rare that players bought as teenagers without serious first team experience ever really manage to make the most of their talent.
Hazard frustrated at Real
After an impressive performance for Belgium on Thursday night, 31-year-old Real winger Eden Hazard explained his current dissatisfaction in Spain, saying: “Now I want to get in shape for the World Cup. We'll see what the coach [Roberto Martinez] decides, but I'm happiest when I play. When I play, I give it my all. It's a delicate situation at Real Madrid. I feel like playing more, but I can't do more.”
Paper Round’s view: Hazard cost £130m and while few can fault the effort of the player when he has been on the pitch, he often seems out of shape off it between seasons, and also is regularly injured. That means Real manager Carlo Ancelotti can’t rely on him and may even have decided that with his other options, it is not worth giving Hazard much responsibility.
Liverpool target Bennacer as Bellingham alternative - Paper Round
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