Football news - Paper Round: Arsenal plot £68m Julian Weigl swoop
Arsenal want Julian Weigl, Chelsea want Eden Hazard to stay, Pablo Zabaleta is due a new West Ham deal and Pep Guardiola rules out a move for Frenkie de Jong.
Arsenal consider Weigl swoop
Arsenal are considering further reinforcements to their squad as new manager Unai Emery impresses. One name on the list is Borussia Dortmund midfielder, Julian Weigl. The 23-year-old German international is out of favour at his current club, having appeared just seven times in domestic competition so far this season. A fee of £68 million would be required.
Julian Weigl et Thomas TuchelGetty Images
Paper Round’s view: Weigl is a wonderful player with plenty of potential at just 23, and Arsenal will be in need of a new midfielder soon. Aaron Ramsey is set to leave the club on a free transfer at the end of the season, and while Weigl would not be a like-for-like replacement, it may be that Emery is planning a change in tactics for Arsenal, and a deeper-lying, creative player could suit him better.
Sarri aiming for new Hazard contract
Maurizio Sarri is pleased that N’Golo Kante has been tied down to a new deal that has taken his wages to around £300,000 a week. However, he is now focussed on adding Eden Hazard to a list of players with their long-term future at Chelsea. The club want to offer more than £300,000 a week in order to extend his current deal beyond 2020, and Sarri said: "I don't know about a new contract (for Eden). I don't know about the evolution of a new contract, I think we can do it. I hope so."
Eden Hazard of Chelsea celebrates with teammates after scoring a penalty for his team's first goal during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Chelsea FC at St. James Park on August 26, 2018 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom.Getty Images
Paper Round’s view: Hazard is comfortably Chelsea’s best and most dangerous player, and keeping him is a financial necessity too - replacing him would cost a fortune. However, as talented as Hazard is, he has not reached the level of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as he briefly threatened to do, and he may still move to Real Madrid in order to challenge and improve himself to become truly great.
Zabaleta set for new deal
West Ham United could soon extend Pablo Zabaleta’s contract. The 33-year-old has impressed under current boss Manuel Pellegrini, who he played for at Manchester City before his move, and the London club have the chance to extend his deal by a further 12 months should they choose to, and he will automatically have his deal renewed if he makes a certain number of appearances this season.
Pablo Zabaleta of West Ham United and Alireza Jahanbakhsh of Brighton and Hove Albion battle for possession during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and West Ham United at American Express Community StadiumGetty Images
Paper Round’s view: At 33, this is probably Zabaleta’s final deal before he returns to Argentina, or moves for one last, big contract in MLS or Chinese football. He is a respected professional and has adjusted well to losing his pace, meaning he could now handle Premier League football for a couple of years left. Given the scarcity of competent defenders, it is no wonder West Ham want to keep hold of him.
Guardiola rules out De Jong transfer
Pep Guardiola has announced some surprise transfer news: Manchester City will not be signing anyone in January because he thinks his squad is strong enough already. City had been expected to sign Frenkie de Jong from Ajax, but a move has been put back until the summer. Guardiola said: “We are not going to spend anything [in January]. I am so happy with the squad, and people are coming back, so no, no. When we created the squad at the beginning of the season, it was not to go to the January [window] unless we have problems."
Frenkie de JongEurosport
Paper Round’s view: Manchester City are the best club in the country and have an edge over Liverpool that should carry them to the Premier League title, but it is still a surprise that they will not move for De Jong. An extra player rarely hurts, and if he were available now then it would give him an extra six months to adjust to life in England. It may simply be a case of Guardiola playing down expectations, rather than a hard plan.