Mark Noble of West Ham United shares a joke with Sadio Mane of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United at Anfield on February 24, 2020 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (
Boost for Premier League's 'Project Restart', Chelsea to sell loan flops to raise Jadon Sancho funds, Wolves are shopping in Portugal again and all eyes are on the Bundesliga this weekend. It's Friday's Paper Round...
'Almost impossible' to contract virus playing football
The Independent's chief football writer Miguel Delaney has stated it is "almost impossible" to contract coronavirus while playing football after a new study in the sport. Fears over players returning to "contact training" are said to be the "biggest obstacle" to the Premier League's 'Project Restart'. However, a new research study from STATSports has revealed that the "average incursion" lasts just 3.3 seconds, with the majority under one second - both of which are considered to be lower than the amount of time needed to contract coronavirus. The Independent state Premier League clubs were "surprised" when they were informed the findings from the study.
Paper Round's view: The Premier League seems pretty intent with going ahead with 'Project Restart' so anything that can be done to ease players concerns will be vital to their plan. Obviously some players, including Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling, have already voiced their concerns at the possibility of returning to Premier League action next month. The players are being put in a difficult situation because they are told they won't be forced to return but they will obviously feel like they are letting their employers and, more importantly, their teammates down if they don't return. This study might ease some initial concerns, but it doesn't mean there is nothing to be worried about... just wait until they realise they have to defend a corner.
Spanish worry as Juventus target PSG ace - Euro Papers
Chelsea to sell loan flops to raise Sancho funds
Chelsea are planning to sell their unwanted transfer flops to raise transfer funds to sign Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund this summer. According to the Express, the Blues are hoping to offload Tiemoue Bakayoko and Alvaro Morata for a combined fee of £78 million which would help contribute to bringing in the highly-rated Sancho, who is valued at over £100 million by his German owners. Bakayoko is currently back at former club AS Monaco and Morata returned to Spain with Atletico Madrid. French champions PSG have interest in Bakayoko, who is valued at £31 million by the Blues and Atleti are said to be ready to pay the pre-agreed £47.8 million fee to complete the permanent signing of Morata.
Paper Round's view: Chelsea are astute dealers in the transfer market. The west London outfit have always managed to recoup a decent fee for players who have 'flopped' at Stamford Bridge. Bakayoko and Morata are examples of two players who are clearly unwanted by the Blues, but clubs are still willing to pay huge fees for them - despite their clear levels of inconsistency in recent seasons. Lampard is doing a decent job back at the Bridge in his first season as a manager in the top flight. Sancho would represent the type of player that sums his style up. Young, direct and hungry. Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount, Reece James and even Billy Gilmour have shown that Lampard is doing a great job of nurturing the young talent at Chelsea and Sancho would surely thrive there.
Wolves are looking to add another Portuguese starlet to their squad, with the club chasing Sporting Lisbon midfielder Joao Palhinha. According to the Mirror, Nuno Espirito Santo wants to bring the 24-year-old to the Midlands outfit after he impressed during Wolves' Europa League group stages matches against Braga, where he is currently on loan, earlier this season. Palhinha has been a first-team regular during his loan spell at Braga but parent-club Sporting Lisbon are said to be willing to accept around £13 million for the defensive midfielder.
Paper Round's view: Wolves have really used their Portuguese links to secure some sensational talent. Joao Moutinho, Ruben Neves, Rui Patricio... the list goes on. Manager Nuno Espirito Santo has identified a undervalued transfer market, not too dissimilar to when Arsene Wenger came to the Premier League in the 1990s and signed some fantastic French talent for cheap transfer fees. There is something special happening at Wolves. In their first season back in the Premier League, they qualified for the Europa League - but their ambitions haven't stopped there. Nuno's side look likely to be the next club after Leicester City to properly challenge the 'Big Six'.
All eyes on the Bundesliga ahead of the summer window
The Independent have spoken to a unnamed Premier League recruitment staffer who has admitted that plenty of scouts in the English top tier will be watching the Bundesliga's return this weekend ahead of the summer transfer window. The recruiter confirmed that the German league has "a lot of value", naming stars like RB Leipzig's Christopher Nkunku, Schalke’s Suat Serdar and soon-to-be free agent Mario Gotze from Borussia Dortmund as players that Premier League clubs will be interested in.
Paper Round's view: Matches and training might have stopped during the coronavirus pandemic, but there was no reason for scouting to stop. Premier League recruitment staffers must've been working throughout the suspended period to watch as many clips as possible in order to identify any potential signings for their clubs this summer. The unnamed scout who spoke to the Independent is right about the value in the Bundesliga. Jadon Sancho is regularly spoken about being worth over £100 million, but that's only because he is English. The Bundesliga might have less glamorous names, but it is full of talent. The Premier League isn't ready to return just yet so clubs can turn their attention to Germany this weekend.