The futures of Paulo Dybala, Romelu Lukaku and Mario Mandzukic are all discussed in Monday’s Paper Round.
No-go for Paulo
Manchester United have ended their pursuit of Juventus striker Paulo Dybala, with the Telegraph reporting that United have pulled the plug due to their reservations about the Argentine’s desire to join the club, as well as his ‘huge’ wage demands. United had been discussing a deal which would see Romelu Lukaku join the Italian champions in turn, but the break down over Dybala – who was asking for £350,000-a-week according to the Independent – means Lukaku’s hopes of moving to Turin are all-but over.
Lukaku could yet head to Italy, with Inter head coach Antonio Conte admitting he is “very hopeful” of signing this Belgian this summer. Inter had been frontrunners before the idea of a swap with Dybala was mooted, and Conte said on Sunday – before news of Juve-United talks breaking down – that he was unsure as to how it would all play out.
“I understand there are some gaps that need to be filled but at the moment I am very hopeful that this will happen,” Conte said.
For sure Lukaku, we are talking about a good player, a striker that in the past I tried to buy when I was Chelsea’s coach. We’re talking about two big clubs, Juventus and Inter Milan, but honestly, I don’t know.
Paper Round’s view: Inter would provide Lukaku the exit route he seemingly craves and the hierarchy at United want, but the club are running out of time to find a replacement with deadline day on August 8 in the UK. They are unlikely to sell before someone is identified, and so it appears this one will drag on into the 11th hour…
Mario the man for Man Utd?
That replacement could come in the form of Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic, with the Daily Mail reporting United are on the verge of signing the Croatian striker regardless of what happens with Dybala. Mandzukic has reportedly agreed a three-year contract which would see him earn around £120,000-a-week.
Paper Round’s view: At 33, the prospect of Mandzukic arriving, but not Dybala, will hardly delight the Stretford End, but it would at least allow Lukaku to leave. Even then, you have to ask yourself whether Juventus would happily do business knowing Inter could prosper as a result, while the more important question would be, what does Mandzukic have that a 26-year-old Lukaku does not? (You said ‘a first touch’, didn’t you…)
Simon Mignolet is on the verge of a £6m move to Club Brugge after telling Liverpool he wants first-team football, the Telegraph reports. The Belgian has played second fiddly to Loris Karius and most recently Alisson Becker at Anfield, and he looks set to end his six-year stay at Liverpool, who will now search for a deputy ahead of the Premier League season.
Paper Round’s view: A move that won’t leave any Liverpool fans with sleepless nights, although they will rest easier when a replacement back-up is found. In Alisson, Liverpool have a goalkeeper for every big occasion. Anyone fancy a run-out in the League Cup and nothing else? Line-up outside Anfield, please.