From West Ham flop to Haaland replacement
Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund are ready to go head-to-head this summer to sign former West Ham United transfer flop Sebastien Haller. The Sun report that the newly-appointed United manager is keen to reunite with the Ajax striker at Old Trafford, but Dortmund view Haller as a potential replacement for the outgoing Erling Haaland. Haaland is expected to leave this summer and Haller’s record of 33 goals in 39 matches for Ajax this season has attracted attention from Europe’s top clubs. The Ivory Coast international could be available for around £35 million, which would allow him to be a cheaper alternative to Haaland or Harry Kane for Manchester United.
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Paper Round’s view: There’s no doubting that Haller is a talented striker. Not only has he proved himself as a sensational striker for Ajax in the Eredivisie, but he scored 11 goals in just eight Champions League appearances this season. He has proven he can score goals at the highest level. But that doesn’t mean he will be a banker for Manchester United. Haller failed to perform after his big-money move to West Ham, so why would a transfer to Old Trafford be any different? It’s a huge risk for United and it doesn’t seem worth it. The club should be targeting the likes of Haaland or Benfica forward Darwin Nunez.
Chelsea chase Rudiger replacement
Chelsea are beginning to plan for life without German centre-back Antonio Rudiger. The 29-year-old is set to leave Stamford Bridge this summer as a free agent after his contract expires in west London. The Blues will be forced to dip into the transfer market to sign a new centre-back – especially due to the fact that Andreas Christensen is also expected to leave for free at the end of the season. Goal report that Chelsea have compiled a transfer shortlist, including Sevilla’s Jules Kounde, Paris Saint-Germain’s Presnel Kimpembe and Atletico Madrid’s Jose Gimenez.
Paper Round’s view: Kounde seems to be the name that is cropping up quite a bit. Chelsea were linked with the French defender last summer, but failed to get a deal over the line before the window closed. It is expected that Blues boss Thomas Tuchel will make Kounde his priority target in defence this summer. Realistically, the west London club need to bring in two new centre-backs to replace Rudiger and Christensen, so it will be interest to see if they bring in two big names or if they spend big on one then invest in a future star. It will be a tough job to replace Rudiger’s presence – especially if they want to challenge for silverware next season.
Wan-Bissaka faces potential homecoming
Crystal Palace are exploring the possibility of bringing Aaron Wan-Bissaka back from Manchester United on loan for the 2022-23 campaign. The 24-year-old moved to Old Trafford for around £50 million back in 2019 but has struggled to find a consistent level of form in Manchester. The Athletic reveal that the Eagles are considering the opportunity to bring Wan-Bissaka back to south London in a bid to upgrade their options at right-back. It is likely that any potential deal would be a loan rather than a permanent transfer.
Paper Round’s view: This would be an embarrassing deal for Manchester United. The Red Devils parted with £50 million to bring Wan-Bissaka to Old Trafford just three years ago and now there are rumours that the right-back could be returning to Crystal Palace on loan. We’ve seen a similar situation in the past with Wilfried Zaha, who failed to make his name at Manchester United and he eventually returned to Selhurst Park. Could the same happen with Wan-Bissaka? Realistically, we won’t know a thing until incoming manager Erik ten Hag comes in and assesses his squad.
Saints warn rivals over Ward-Prowse
Southampton are ready to reject any approaches for club captain James Ward-Prowse this summer. The Mail report that Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur are sniffing around the Saints skipper, but the club will make sure their rivals know that he is not for sale at any price. The England international has four years remaining on his current contract on the south coast, which means that Southampton are not under any pressure to sell Ward-Prowse. The Mail state that the possibility of joining a club that compete in Europe could turn the 27-year-old’s head, but he is unlikely to push for a transfer.
Paper Round’s view: Ward-Prowse is enjoying another brilliant individual campaign for Southampton, but his side are wallowing in 13th place in the Premier League table. Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side have won just nine league matches in their 34 outings this season. It’s becoming a bit repetitive for Ward-Prowse, so it would be completely understandable if he wanted to push for an exit. It doesn’t seem like that is in his character – especially as he is captain at his boyhood club. However, it would be interesting to see how he would perform at a higher level – and if that would impact his chances of being a consistent member of the England squad.
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