Zinedine Zidane wants Paul Pogba, Christian Eriksen and Nemanja Matic could swap clubs, Rafael Benitez is pricey, and Labour will give fans a say.
Zidane still wants Pogba
Spanish newspaper Marca believes that Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane still wants to sign Paul Pogba from Manchester United, though there are a couple of obstacles to the signing. The first is that Real are unsure where he might fit in the current squad without getting in the way of the development of younger players, and second, he wants 16 million euros a year. His cost of around 120 million euros could be prohibitive, too.
Paper Round’s view: Pogba has offered little to United for the last season, and while his talent is undimmed now is the time to let him go. United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer need a new midfielder to contribute consistently, and the only way they can afford that is to sell the 26-year-old French international, presumably to Real or Juventus in one of the next two transfer windows.
'United fears as Real Madrid eye Serie A target' - Euro Papers
United could offer Eriksen swap
While Pogba is wanted by Real Madrid, another Manchester United player who could be on the move is Nemanja Matic. The Mirror passes on a story from the Athletic, who suggests that the club may make a play for Christian Eriksen of Tottenham Hotspur. In order to secure a deal, they may offer up 31-year-old midfielder Matic, who is a previous favourite of Jose Mourinho.
Paper Round’s view: As United and Spurs could potentially lose Matic and Eriksen for nothing in the summer, respectively, it makes sense that the clubs swap with one another in order to realise some value from their efforts. Neither player appears to want to remain at their current teams and could both offer something if they were to move on.
Premier League clubs including West Ham will find it tough to prise Rafael Benitez away from Chinese side Dalian Yifang, according to the Daily Mail. Benitez not only has two years left on his current deal, but it would cost £20 million to buy him out from the contract. That figure will only reduce in the final year of his contract, meaning he is essentially unavailable until then.
Paper Round’s view: Benitez has shown with Liverpool and then at Newcastle United, with Chelsea in between, that his style brings success across the table in the Premier League. He would be well suited to West Ham where he would have plenty of funds to rebuild the squad, but as he is on £12.5 million a year in his current job, he is probably not desperate to relocate.
The Labour Party has told the Telegraph of their plans to help fans have some influence over choosing the manager at their club. They would also allow supporters to have to directors on the board of teams. They said: “Labour will put fans at the heart of football by giving them a far greater say over the way their clubs are run. We will provide them a say over who their manager is, allow safe standing, and make sure all stadiums are fully accessible.”
Paper Round’s view: There are of course reasons to be sceptical of any party being involved with sport, and legislation can have plenty of unintended drawbacks. However, it would be difficult to deny that over the last two decades, fans have been increasingly priced out of their own clubs and are given less respect when it comes to the path the clubs decide to take.