Bale refuses to budge over Real exit

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Gareth Bale is refusing to entertain walking away from his Real Madrid contract, according to the Sun. After being denied a £1m-a-week move to China at the last minute last summer, he is holding his current club to the terms of his deal, which is worth around £30 million a year, depending on bonuses. The Sun add that he expects £60m as a payoff. He refused to join up with the squad in Manchester for the City game because he did not believe he would be picked.

Paper Round’s view: It is obvious that Zinedine ZIdane does not want Bale at the club, and that the club are willing to sell him for the right price. That’s fair enough, but attempting to force him out by isolating him is a risky game, and one response that Bale is entitled to is to simply observe the requirements of his contract - it should be a lesson to the club.

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Maurizio Sarri out at Juventus, Mauricio Pochettino or Zinedine Zidane in? - Euro Papers

United aim to tie down Henderson

The Mail reports that Manchester United will attempt to persuade Dean Henderson to return to Sheffield United for the third season in a row. The 23-year-old will be offered a new contract in order to stay with his parent club for the long term, when he will expect to then take over from David de Gea next season.

Paper Round’s view: In terms of price, paying Henderson more to retain him for one more season, while getting Sheffield United to cough up, is better value for money if they have to keep De Gea. There must be a suspicion on the Spanish ‘keeper’s part at this point, though, that he is simply paid too much to be moved on during the coronavirus, but that is time at the club is now limited.

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Lampard weighs up bid for Stones

Frank Lampard is weighing up a bid for Manchester City defender John Stones, according to the Mirror. The 26-year-old England international is no longer first choice at Manchester City under Pep Guardiola, and with the arrival of Nathan Ake from Bournemouth he is further down the pecking order. A bid of £20 million may be enough to push through a sale.

Paper Round’s view: Stones is clearly a talent but this next year will be a crucial one. It is at this point that ball-playing central defenders have to start proving that their reading of the game is enough to make them defensively reliable. Given Chelsea’s defending this season, Lampard may not be the manager to turn his career around.

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Liverpool target Tsimikas

The Sunday Telegraph has news on a new left-back in the sights of Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. The club have been linked with a number of full-backs to add competition and support, and Andrew Robertson could soon be challenged by Olympiacos defender Kostas Tsimikas, a 24-year-old Greek international.

Paper Round’s view: Being a full-back is physically demanding and there is perhaps an awareness at Liverpool that they can't ask the same exertions from Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold again without putting their long-term fitness and effectiveness at risk. By adding depth to their squad they should be able to challenge on more fronts next year.

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