Lionel Messi has doubts over Mauricio Pochettino, Barcelona want Cesar Azpilicueta in summer – Paper Round
Tuesday’s Paper Round includes reports in France that Lionel Messi and his “clan” have their doubts over PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino. Elsewhere, Barcelona are keen on signing Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta this summer, while Newcastle are after a Stoke City striker in the January transfer window.
Paris Saint-Germain's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (C) leaves the pitch after chatting with Paris Saint-Germain's Argentinian head coach Mauricio Pochettino
Lionel Messi and his camp have doubts over Mauricio Pochettino's ability to coach Paris Saint-Germain, L’Equipe reports. Messi has scored four times since moving to Paris, and just once in Ligue 1, recently drawing a blank in the 1-1 draw at Lens. PSG may top the table by 11 points, and have also won the Trophee des Champions and Coupe de France under Pochettino, but Messi is not convinced by his fellow Argentine’s tactical nous.
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Paper Round’s view: Messi won’t be alone in this aspect, but we’re about to see what sway he has in Paris having certainly made his voice heard at Barcelona – at times. PSG may have missed out on Ligue 1 last year, and Pochettino can argue he was only in charge for half that campaign, but regaining that title would not be enough. Europe is key, but you just get the feeling they’ll come up short again.
Barca after Azpi
Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta is in advanced talks with Barcelona over a summer move, El Nacional in Spain reports – via Daily Mail. Azpilicueta moved to London in 2012 from Marseille, and as it stands the 32-year-old’s contract will expire at the end of the season. That means the defender would be free to discuss a move with overseas clubs from January.
Paper Round’s view: Had Azpilicueta not enjoyed a renaissance under Thomas Tuchel, then we may have said fair enough, time to move on. However, this return to form at Chelsea saw the defender make the Top 30 of the Ballon d’Or rankings on the back of a fine year, and it may be the case that Chelsea try to tempt him into staying. Time will tell.
Newcastle want Stoke’s Campbell
Stoke striker Tyrese Campbell could be Newcastle’s first signing of the Saudi era, according to The Sun. Eddie Howe’s side are prepared to offer £20m for the 21-year-old, who is a product of Manchester City’s academy and son of ex-Arsenal and Everton forward Kevin. Campbell junior has scored twice in his last eight Championship games, and has 20 goals in 75 games for Stoke.
Paper Round’s view: Perhaps not the name Newcastle fans would have liked to see as their first signing of the new era, but it will be a case of building slowly in the north east. First and foremost that means bringing in players who can help them stave relegation. If they stay up, then they can start dreaming big(ish) in the summer.
Struber says no to Man Utd
Gerhard Struber has turned down the chance to become Ralf Rangnick’s assistant at Manchester United, The Sun reports. Gerhard is currently the head coach at New York Red Bulls, and was approached by United last week, but despite being close friends with Rangnick having worked together at Red Bull Salzburg, he wants to remain with the MLS side.
Paper Round’s view: A slight blow, if United are not able to attract the people Rangnick wants, but there are plenty more fish in the sea, and no doubt more people Rangnick has worked with and influenced that would be willing to work under him once more.