Dressing room split on Ten Hag

Players at Manchester United are divided over the possible appointment of Erik ten Hag, the Manchester Evening News reports. United have held initial talks with the Ajax boss, but while some players at Old Trafford are said to be excited by the prospect of Ten Hag becoming the permanent manager, sources close to other players claim he is an underwhelming choice. PSG’s Mauricio Pochettino was the favoured option by players a couple of months ago, although the club appear to be leaning towards Ten Hag.
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Paper Round’s view: If it’s a case of Ten Hag or Pochettino, then it’s unlikely to please everyone, as the jury will be out either way, with the pair arguably not in the same category as the world’s leading coaches. Whether the dressing room is split or not, it will be on the new manager to ensure the players are – pardon the pun – united, and that could take a lot of work.
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Loan for Hazard

Real Madrid are exploring loan options for Eden Hazard next season, AS in Spain reports. Real are eager for Hazard to return to the levels of his Chelsea days, but with injuries plaguing his time at the Bernabeu, there is a hope a temporary change of destination could help him regain his fitness, form and confidence. The point, with Vinicius Junior firing, and Kylian Mbappe potentially arriving in the summer, would be to drum up enough interest and sell him on having bought him for €100m in 2019.

Eden Hazard

Image credit: Getty Images

Paper Round’s view: Real will have to count this as a hefty loss, but with Hazard’s contract expiring in 2024, it makes sense to send him on loan next season and chase a transfer fee for him in 2023. It’s hard to see that surpassing £50m, or even £30m for that matter, as he will be 32 next summer, but a strong 2022-23 campaign could make that possible. Maybe.
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Permanent Kulusevski

Tottenham are expected to trigger their option to sign Dejan Kulusevski on a permanent deal, the Daily Mail reports. Spurs loaned the Swedish winger on an 18-month deal in January, but they will look to make that permanent at the first opportunity as they have an option to buy the 21-year-old for £25m at the end of the season. Kulusevski has shone for Spurs since the loan move, recording two goals and five assists in 10 Premier League games.

Kulusevski esulta per il gol in Tottenham-West Ham United - Premier League 2021/2022

Image credit: Getty Images

Paper Round’s view: A no-brainer, really, at that price too. Kulusevski has been a revelation so far for Spurs, so they would be foolish not to.
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Phillips willing to extend Leeds deal

Kalvin Phillips has told Leeds he is willing to sign a contract extension at the club amid interest from Aston Villa, West Ham and Newcastle, the Daily Mail reports. The latest rumours suggested Villa were keen on the £60m-rated midfielder, while West Ham saw a £55m bid rejected in January. Phillips is in the process of changing agents, and that will delay any extension until June at the earliest.

Leeds player Kalvin Phillips reacts during the Carabao Cup Second Round match between Leeds United and Crewe Alexandra at Elland Road on August 24, 2021 in Leeds, England.

Image credit: Getty Images

Paper Round’s view: The report also suggests Phillips is eager to play Champions League football, so perhaps it’s a case of the 26-year-old England international signing a new deal, spending a couple more seasons at Elland Road, and then commanding a solid transfer fee for Leeds when eventually moving on. If he can pick up where he left off before his injury problems, that £55-60m figure could remain a reasonable valuation, and make him an attractive option with Declan Rice being quoted at closer to £150m.
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