City ready to let Silva go
The Daily Mail reports that Manchester City will hold talks with Portuguese midfielder Bernardo Silva about his future. The 28-year-old playmaker is keen to move to Spain, and City will let him leave if a club meets their asking price. They want £80 million for the player, who has been hoping to quit the Etihad Stadium for the last two transfer windows despite his happiness with the club itself.
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Paper Round’s view: City clearly pay their players inordinately massive sums of money, and appear to be getting better with every transfer window, so it is not exactly uncomfortable for Silva in many ways at City. However, if he is not happy in the country then it would be unfair to make him stay, but his preferred club Barcelona need to sort out their finances to make it happen.
Ronaldo close to Al-Hilal deal
Cristiano Ronaldo was close to joining Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal in the summer, reports the Sun. The 37-year-old striker was keen to leave Manchester United after they failed to make the Champions League for this season, and the Saudi club would have paid him £2m a week for two years, as well as paying Manchester United £25m, but they were prevented by a transfer ban.
Paper Round’s view: Ronaldo has cut a frustrated figure in the last few months and he plainly did not want to start the season with the club. If he continues to be troubled by his time with United then perhaps after the World Cup in Qatar, Al-Hilal will be able to push through a deal, which would also allow United to fund a move for a more motivated and younger forward.
Messi return to Barcelona ‘possible’
Eduard Romeu, a vice president at Barcelona, has confirmed that the club would be able to sign Lionel Messi on a free contract, with the 35-year-old Argentina striker out of his current deal with Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the season and free to agree a deal elsewhere from January, reports the Mirror. Romeu said: “It would be possible financially because if he returned it would be as a free agent.”
Paper Round’s view: Barcelona have clearly regretted letting Messi leave a couple of years ago in what was essentially an administrative mistake caused by their financial problems. Messi’s huge drop-off in form suggests he does not enjoy life outside of Barcelona in the same way, and if he can agree a reduced salary package then a return seems inevitable.
Llorente would play for Real for free
Former Tottenham striker Fernando Llorente has said he would be prepared to play for Real Madrid for free in order to fulfil a dream before his career comes to an end. The 37-year-old played for Eibar last season but is without a club now, and Marca reported that he had no intention of retiring yet. Llorente missed out on the chance to move to Real when his move to Juventus materialised.
Paper Round’s view: Llorente was a capable striker when he was with Spurs but his abilities have since declined, and it is hard to think that he would be able to offer much to Real, even as a striker in reserve to help out the workload on Karim Benzema. Of course, the veteran is hardly seriously expecting a move to Real now but another smaller club could be tempted.
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