Paper Round: Gareth Bale set to snub Manchester United
Gareth Bale is 'very happy' at Real Madrid according to his agent, as it is reported he will snub any offer by Manchester United. It's Wednesday's Paper Round.
Bale to snub United
Gareth Bale is set to snub Manchester United's ongoing bid to bring him to Old Trafford, according to reports. The Welshman's agent told Italian newspaper Tuttosport that he could rival Neymar in terms of value and says that he is happy in Madrid, adding that he "loves the club." According to Bale's agent, Jonathan Barnett, with rumours that the 28-year-old has been waiting in the wings for Cristiano Ronaldo to leave in order to become the club's main man, he is already "a star" with no need to see off competition from the Portugal international.
Gareth Bale is said to be waiting for Cristiano Ronaldo to leave Real Madrid in order to become the starGetty Images
Paper Round's view: Though there can be no denying Bale's talent, it's been a rocky road. Perhaps his agent is right that there is no power struggle with Ronaldo for star status - but it may become increasingly difficult for Bale to compete with any incoming star at Real. But, even with Mourinho's penchant for signing strikers, where would a waning star such as Bale sit in his line-up?
Smalling and Jones to be Mourinho's defensive casualties?
After it was reported in Tuesdays papers that Manchester United were looking for defensive signings in Raphael Varane and Harry Maguire, Wednesday's papers speculate as to who might make way for any fresh blood. According to reports on Wednesday, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones could be the men set to be cleared out to make space for new defensive signings.
...As he tracks Alderweireld
As well as Varane and Maguire, United are said to be keeping a close eye on Spurs defender Toby Alderweireld, who is out of contract in 18 months, as part of their so-called "defensive revamp," according to The Mirror. The news come after Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino reasoned that the Belgian's omission from recent squads was to protect him from injury, rather than related to contract negotiations.
Mauricio Pochettino says that Spurs are protecting Toby Alderweireld from serious injuryGetty Images
Paper Round's view: 18 months is a long time in football, and Mourinho could be well out of the picture by the time Pochettino is ready to sell Alderweireld. Though while he is still at Old Trafford, Mourinho has certainly shown considerable interest in Spurs players. In terms of who would make way for any incoming defensive players, Jones and Smalling seem likely enough candidates.