No fans for a year?
The Guardian are among the papers reporting that the Premier League could resume without supporters for a whole year. With players set to resume training on Tuesday, the prospects of a June restart are looking positive for English football’s top tier, but the prospect of fans returning to stadiums this year appears unlikely amid the coronavirus pandemic. The league’s medical adviser Mark Gillett said:
I’ve sat on the DCMS [Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport] group with a very high level of medical input from Public Health England and the chief medical officer’s department. They’ve made it very clear that the social situation, the public health situation is not going to change over the next six to 12 months. It is important that people understand that.
Sterling: Weeks of training needed before restart
Paper Round’s view: It’s no surprise really, especially as giving a specific date would also be giving false hope. It does no harm to put into people’s minds that it could be a year either, as any return sooner would be celebrated. Perhaps there will be a staggered return, but the prospect of tens of thousands flocking to games this year? No chance, surely.
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Who wants Poch?
Mauricio Pochettino is now free to sign for prospective clubs, the Telegraph reports. Tbe Premier League was originally scheduled to finish on May 17, and a day after, Pochettino’s gardening leave at Tottenham ended. He was sacked and replaced by Jose Mourinho last year, and now clubs will no longer have to pay compensation to Spurs, the Argentine’s availability could see AC Milan, Real Madrid, Newcastle and Bayern Munich step up their interest in the manager.
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Paper Round’s view: Pochettino without paying compensation? Few would say no to that, but it could still prove costly if clubs want to bring him in. It’s difficult to foresee what manager movement there will be this summer, mainly because the top leagues are either cancelled or a couple of months away from being completed, so Pochettino’s next destination should become clearer once they are finished one way or another.
Soyuncu a wanted man
Leicester are hopeful Caglar Soyuncu will sign a new deal amid interest from Liverpool and Barcelona, the Daily Mail reports. The central defender has impressed this season with the Foxes set to clinch a Champions League spot, but now a move to Barcelona has been mooted, while Mustafa Dogru – the man who negotiated Soyuncu's move from Freiburg to Leicester – claims Liverpool are the only other Premier Leauge club the player could move to.
Rondos are back as Barca return to group trainings
Paper Round’s view: It is very difficult for Leicester to hold onto their star players. See: Kante, Mahrez, Maguire. But one thing’s for sure, they’ll demand a high price. With Leicester on the verge of Champions League football too, they will not let their prized assets go lightly.
Four on the Juve chopping board
Juventus could look to sell Miralem Pjanic, Douglas Costa, Gonzalo Higuain and Sami Khedira this summer, the Daily Mail reports. With the club aiming to make cut-backs amid the coronavirus pandemic, Juve’s chief football officer Fabio Paratici is considering ways to cut costs, including a salary cap of €6m (£5.3m) for any new arrivals.
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Paper Round’s view: Those at the club can breathe a sigh of relief knowing the cap is for new arrivals only, but they could struggle to replace like for like if they really do want to get rid of the above quartet. Ivan Rakitic for Pjanic has been suggested, but knowing Juve, they have a free signing up their sleeve.