Paper Round: Mauricio Pochettino to bring Gylfi Sigurdsson back to Spurs
Spurs to re-sign Gylfi Sigurdsson, Jermain Defoe wants at least £6m, Stan Kroenke rejects Alisher Usmanov's £1b bid, and Wayne Rooney may have played his final Manchester United league game.
Spurs set to re-sign Gyfi Sigurdsson
When Mauricio Pochettino was appointed as Spurs manager in 2014, one of the first transfers completed was to sell Sigurdsson back to Swansea City, the club that Spurs had bought him from. Pochettino considers the sale a mistake, and is urging Daniel Levy to bring him back to the club. Sigurdsson has been one of a few bright spots for Swansea in a season when they have only narrowly avoided relegation, and gone through several managers.
Paper Round's view: Pochettino is reportedly concerned that Ross Barkley will cost too much to sign from Everton, and Sigurdsson makes sense in a number of ways. He knows Spurs, and he knows the Premier League. He also has plenty more experience and is more consistent than Barkley. However, despite his good form, he is palpably below the quality needed to improve Spurs' first team - it is difficult to see who he is actually better than at Spurs.
Rooney may not play in Premier League for United again
Wayne Rooney will start Manchester United's final league game on the bench, with Jose Mourinho unsure whether the club captain will feature for the side. With the focus on youngsters ahead of the Europa League final, Rooney's next appearance may instead come at Michael Carrick's testimonial at the start of June. Mourinho has praised Rooney's attitude but says it is 'difficult' to manage his declining career.
Paper Round's view: Manchester United and Rooney are studiously avoiding any ill will as Rooney moves towards the exit at Old Trafford. There have been no leaks of late talking of Rooney's frustrations, he has been positive in public when asked, and Mourinho has only been complimentary. Presumably both parties know there could be difficult negotiations ahead, and neither are interested in causing a difficult atmosphere.
Defoe's healthy transfer demands
Jermain Defoe is wanted by Crystal Palace and Bournemouth, and has set out his initial requests. Having scored 18 goals this season and at the age of 34, he has asked for a two-year deal, with the option of a third, £6 million, and a weekly wage of £110,000. West Ham were interested in bringing him back to the club, but have looked to Kelechi Iheanacho of Manchester City instead.
Paper Round's view: Defoe can reliably offer goals for any club in the league. From that point of view, £6 million and £110,000 week will start to look cheap. However, the gamble is that he can maintain his fitness and won't suffer from the inevitable drop off in his game due to age. He has shown at Sunderland that is by no means certain, but any club agreeing to the deal is taking an obvious risk.
Usmanov fails in Arsenal bid
Alisher Usmanov, part-owner of Arsenal, failed with a £1 billion bid for Stan Kroenke's share of the club. Usmanov timed his bid to coincide with financial difficulties for Arsenal. They are unlikely to qualify for the Champions League, they have many players entering the final year of their contract, including Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, and there is disquiet over Arsene Wenger's future. However, Kroenke has no intention of accepting the bid.
Paper Round's view: The bid would represent a healthy profit for Kroenke, but with no sign of Premier League broadcast rights falling, and with Arsenal still exceptionally well positioned in terms of finances, there is no compelling reason for an immediate sale. Even if Arsenal drop out of the Champions League for a couple of seasons, their income and value could still continue to rise. For the club, though, they do not need yet another distraction after a hard season.