Paper Round: Manchester United emerging as Paulo Dybala favourites
Manchester United look to be emerging as the favourites to sign Juventus star, Paulo Dybala. Jen Offord brings you Thursday's Paper Round.
United to battle PSG and Barca for Dybala
Juventus forward Paulo Dybala is back in the news on Thursday as Manchester United are once again linked with the player. According to The Express, United will make a play for the Argentina international this summer to help out Romelu Lukaku. The 24-year-old is, however, also a target for Barcelona and PSG.
Paulo Dybala is on the hit-list for a number of European teams including Manchester UnitedGetty Images
Paper Round's view: With the exception of Dybala's previous comments about not having a "great relationship" with Lionel Messi, Dybala heading to the Camp Nou always seemed a foregone conclusion. However, now that Barca have secured Philippe Coutinho, United may seem a more likely prospect.
Giroud to play on at Arsenal for World Cup spot
Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud will apparently stay on at the North London club after the January transfer window in a bid to secure his place in France's World Cup squad. Though the 31-year-old has consistently been linked with moves elsewhere over the last few transfer windows and has dropped down the "pecking order" at the Emirates, but Giroud apparently believes he will get enough game time to secure a place at the World Cup.
Olivier Giroud has enjoyed less playing time at Arsenal this season.Reuters
Paper Round's view: Having reportedly already rejected a big money move to the Chinese Super League, Giroud's agent may be right in his assertion: "Leaving Arsenal to earn more money is not uppermost in his mind." He may also be right that, with the season really kicking into gear, Giroud will get the playing time he needs.
Ancelotti set to replace Wenger
Rumours abound once more regarding the possible departure of Arsene Wenger from Arsenal this summer, with Carlo Ancelotti again supposedly lined up as a potential replacement. The Evening Standard reported on Wednesday that senior figures at the Emirates thought Wenger's time at the club could come sooner than his contract expiration in summer 2019, and former Bayern Munich manager, Ancelotti - who will reportedly move back to London in February - is touted as the replacement.
Paper Round's view: Ancelotti has experience of both the Premier League and the "continental-style" structure emerging at Arsenal as a means to manage the post-Wenger transitionary period. However, his return to the capital could equally be linked to the managerial position at Chelsea, should Conte's relationship with the club sour. We're certainly not sure Ancelotti is the man to take on whatever transition is necessary at Arsenal.
Lukaku could sue over voodoo comments
Comments made by Everton part-owner Farha Moshiri about Romelu Lukaku could end up biting him on the behind. As reported in Wednesday's Paper Round, Moshiri claimed a conversation about voodoo between Lukaku and his mother caused the Belgium international to shun a new contract at Everton. A number of Thursday's back pages report Lukaku's anger at the comments, after his representatives said they would consider legal action.
Paper Round’s view: It's fairly unsurprising that Lukaku wanted to leave Everton at the point at which he did, and we're quite sure he'd have needed no persuasion from any other-worldly spirits to do so. The story is bonkers and, let's face it, has some fairly unpleasant undertones. It's equally unsurprising Lukaku would be dismayed by such tales.