Man Utd to trigger extensions

Manchester United are set to trigger one-year contract extensions for five players before the end of January, the Manchester Evening News reports. David de Gea, Diogo Dalot, Luke Shaw, Fred and Marcus Rashford are among the players who have technically entered the final year of their contracts at Old Trafford, but as notable first-teamers the club have no intention of letting them leave on a free next summer. With options to extend all of their deals, the club will look to wrap that up by the end of the next transfer window.
Paper Round’s view: Makes sense, given the free agents we have seen leave over the years at United and beyond. And even if United eventually deem some of them surplus to requirements, a new deal can at least help the club get a decent fee – if possible.
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Saudi clubs back in for Ronaldo

Saudi Arabian clubs could explore the option to sign Cristiano Ronaldo during the January transfer window, The Sun reports. Saudi champions Al Hilal made a concrete offer for the Manchester United forward in the summer, but he was against a move to the Middle East. It remains to be seen whether Ronaldo would change his mind during the season, but if so then rivals Al Nassr could also table a bid.
Paper Round’s view: Yeah, this ain’t happening. Call it a hunch, or call it the fact that he simply didn’t opt for this move in the summer, but Ronaldo seems too wedded to the idea of returning to Champions League football to suddenly be ready to move to Saudi Arabia in January. By that point, he may also be helping the United cause, although Portugal’s World Cup exploits could end up dictating his mood by then.

The Ox to Villa?

Liverpool could renew their interest in Douglas Luiz by offering Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to Aston Villa, the Express reports. Luiz became a late target for Liverpool and Arsenal during the summer transfer window, but a high asking price from Villa put both clubs off. In their bid to beat Arsenal to the signature in January, Liverpool could end up putting together a swap deal, with 29-year-old Oxlade-Chamberlain going the other way.
Paper Round’s view: On paper it looks like a decent swap but Villa would be right to be concerned about Oxlade-Chamberlain’s unlucky brush with injuries over the years. No doubt Villa will hold out for plenty of money if clubs push for Luiz in January – they rejected £25m from Arsenal, and seem unlikely to budge for anything under £40m.

Ecuador’s World Cup spot under threat

An exclusive from the Daily Mail claims Ecuador face being kicked out of the World Cup over an alleged false birth certificate of one of its players, with the confession made during an official investigation the Ecuador Football Federation covered up. It concerns Byron Castillo, and the Mail say the revelation comes two days before FIFA's Appeals Commission will make a ruling. Ecuador are Qatar’s first opponents at the World Cup in November, and if thrown out then Chile could benefit by taking their place.
Paper Round’s view: Safe to say, we’ll leave this one for the Appeals Commission, although intriguing that it could – could – alter England’s potential last-16 opponents, depending on who ends up where in Groups A and B.
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