Paper Round: Liverpool line up Lorenzo Insigne as Philippe Coutinho replacement
Napoli's Lorenzo Insigne could replace Barcelona-bound Philippe Coutinho at Liverpool, Spurs bid for Anthony Martial, and Chelsea target three new signings.
Liverpool to replace Coutinho with Insigne
Liverpool are making plans for life after Philippe Coutinho. Should Coutinho join Barcelona, then his current side will have around £100m to replace the 25-year-old Brazilian. Their target is Napoli playmaker, Lorenzo Insigne, who scored 20 goals from last midfield last season. The 26-year-old Italian could cost around £60m.
2017, José Maria Callejon, Lorenzo Insigne, Dries Mertens, Napoli, Getty ImagesGetty Images
Paper Round's view: Goals from midfield is what Coutinho provides, but not as many as Insigne has for Napoli. It perhaps should be noted that for all Coutinho's talent, he is still an inconsistent performer. While it might be disheartening to lose a player to Barcelona, this is a chance for a selling club to both make a huge profit, and improve their side at the same time.
Barcelona prepare £100m+ Coutinho bid
Philippe Coutinho is still expected to join Barcelona, but the Catalans may have to spend more than £100m, as Liverpool rate the midfielder's value at close to £145m. Such a high figure could rule out a move entirely, but Barcelona are preparing a new bid that is closer to that valuation. The saga could drag out until the end of the transfer window.
Philippe Coutinho hands in transfer request at LiverpoolGetty Images
Paper Round's view: It is unreasonable to adjust player valuations due to Neymar's transfer, at least by such a large amount. Barcelona might have £200m following the transfer, but the Neymar deal happened in exceptional circumstances which may not be repeated ever, or at least for many more years. £145m is an absurd figure to ask for Coutinho, but you can see why Liverpool fancy their chances.
Spurs bid for Anthony Martial
The Independent report a French story, that Tottenham Hotspur have had a bid rejected for Anthony Martial. The 21-year-old French international has been subject of rumours after Jose Mourinho appeared to favour other players, and was first suggested as a makeweight in negotiations for Inter Milan's 28-year-old Croatian winger, Ivan Perisic. Spurs have denied making a bid, but there is genuine interest.
Anthony Martial (Manchester United) contre le Real Madrid en match amicalGetty Images
Paper Round's view: Other stories have suggested that the bid was around £25m, which is half of what United paid for Martial just two years ago. This would fit with Daniel Levy's parsimonious approach to transfers, and is clearly not going to be enough to complete a deal. If United do choose to sell Martial this summer, or exchange him for Perisic, he should be valued close to his original purchase price.
Chelsea target three more signings
Following a crushing home defeat by Burnley, where they finished with just nine men, Antonio Conte is looking to make three more signings before the end of the transfer window. The club will make a second bid for Leicester City's Danny Drinkwater, with interest in Alex Sandro, Serge Aurier, Jose Cancelo, Danny Rose, Virgil van Dijk, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ross Barkley.
Paper Round's view: Chelsea's injuries are exacerbating an awkward situation, but they do still need a couple of players if they are to cope with the additional fixture demands of Champions League football. There are enough options listed above to think that if Chelsea are prepared to support their manager, then there are plenty of options to explore.