Paper Round: Arsenal look to Leon Goretzka amid January squad uncertainty
As talk of Mesut Ozil's rumoured move to Barcalona continues, Arsene Wenger will look to Leon Goretzka to fill the void. It's Wednesday's Paper Round.
Arsenal target Goretzka
Arsene Wenger is said to be homing in on Schalke midfielder Leon Goretzka as his primary target for next summer’s transfer window. The Mirror reports that with the 22-year-old’s contact set to expire then, he will be popular with Premier League clubs including Manchester City and Liverpool as well as Bundesliga top dogs, Bayern Munich.
Boardroom split delays Ozil's Barca deal
Paper Round’s view: Schalke face a similar problem to Arsenal’s issues with Sanchez and Ozil, and could well try to sell Goretzka in January should he refuse to sign another contract. At any rate, with the Germany international building a good reputation for himself, he may well hold out to see what next season’s Champions League options are before committing.
Smalling hits back at Southgate England axe
Chris Smalling made a number of Wednesday’s back pages after he spoke out about being left out of the England squad for the last round of international friendlies. The Manchester United defender was said to be incapable of playing out from the back by Gareth Southgate. The 27-year-old said on Tuesday he was “surprised” not to be called up and added: “You don’t play for one of the biggest clubs in the world for as long as I have …without being able to do everything a top defender needs to do.”
Paper Round’s view: Smalling’s assertion seems to be that because he plays for Jose Mourinho – one of the best managers – and regularly starts, his place on the England squad should pretty much be a foregone conclusion. Even if we ignore the frequent rumours of Smalling’s imminent departure from Old Trafford, this is more than a little arrogant – unlike Mourinho, Southgate seems more inclined to give young players a chance. We’re all for a little ruthlessness where the England squad is concerned, but Southgate’s comments did go a little further than they perhaps needed to.
Everton to contest Niasse charge
Everton announced they would contest the FA’s charge against Oumar Niasse for “successful deception of a match official”, on Tuesday evening. Niasse became the first footballer to be charged under new laws after he went down during his team’s clash against Crystal Palace, following contact with Scott Dann. The charge was made after footage of the incident was studied by a panel of three who unanimously agreed.
Paper Round’s view: Though Everton have said they will appeal the charge, they may not have an easy time convincing the FA of Niasse’s argument that the contact was with his upper body, given that the charges can only be brought about if the panel agrees unanimously there is cause to do so. It’s not looking like Everton’s season, at all.