Paper Round: Manchester United and PSG on alert as Cristiano Ronaldo to leave Real Madrid
Cristiano Ronaldo will leave Real Madrid, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could join Arsenal, and both Juan Mata and Matteo Darmian could leave Manchester United.
Real Madrid allow Ronaldo to leave
Real Madrid will let Cristiano Ronaldo leave in the summer. The move will put Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United on alert for the 32-year-old Portuguese forward. Ronaldo wants his price tag to be around 1/10th of his one billion euro release clause. United remain interested despite being on the verge of bringing Alexis Sanchez to the club from Arsenal in the next couple of days.
Cristiano Ronaldo Real MadridGetty Images
Paper Round's view: An asking price of 100 million euros seems excessive for a striker who has plainly entered a decline. While this might be a mere blip, it should remind people that post-30, it is ever harder to arrest a drop in form. Given the price there are better options, such as Antoine Griezmann, who will at least hold their value for longer, and give more years of service on the pitch. Perhaps PSG is the best place for Ronaldo, where he can enjoy an easier ride as Zlatan Ibrahimovic did.
Arsenal close to meeting Aubameyang asking price
Arsenal's first bid for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will not secure them the player, however a second bid of £55m is expected to be enough to convince Borussia Dortmund to sell. Arsene Wenger wants the 28-year-old Gabon international to replace Alexis Sanchez, who is due to join Manchester United in the coming days. Once the move is complete, Wenger will turn his attention to signing Jonny Evans from West Bromwich Albion.
Paper Round's view: Aubameyang was the top scorer in the Bundesliga last season, and has carried his goalscoring form into 2017/18. While he has some disciplinary problems, it appears that he will be an able replacement for Sanchez. With the potential signing of Evans, too, Wenger might finally have realised that his transfer approach of signing younger, promising players is no longer enough, and that he can no longer wait for his players to perform.
Sanchez arrival could see Mata depart
Manchester United are yet to activate an extra year's deal on Juan Mata's current contract. While they may still take the option, United might be happy to see Mata depart given he earns £170,000 a week and is not regarded as an essential part of the first team under Jose Mourinho, especially with the arrival of Alexis Sanchez. Valencia, the club Mata left in order to join Chelsea, could sign him on a free transfer in the summer.
Paper Round's view: Mata's wages are at the top end save for the superstars at Old Trafford, and another deal might not be the best use of United's money. Having said that, since he joined he has been the only midfielder to consistently score, often in big games, seems to be a wonderful human being, and can play across the midfield. He has no pace to lose, too, so the pragmatic choice might be to keep him on for the long term instead.
Darmian set for Roma loan
Matteo Darmian could soon leave Old Trafford after Roma took the lead in the chase for the Italian defender. United want £17m for the 28-year-old, but might allow him to join Roma on loan until the move is made permanent in the summer. Juventus and Valencia are also interested in the full-back.
Elyounoussi Darmian Bale Manchester UnitedGetty Images
Paper Round's view: Darmian must have shown something else in his time at Torino, because at United he has failed to impress. He doesn't appear to have much skill when it comes to either defending or attacking, and he isn't quick, either. Regardless of what his real talents are, if Jose Mourinho is now happy with Luke Shaw and Ashley Young at left back, it seems sensible to let Darmian return to Italy.