Gareth Bale is offered a world-record contract in the Far East, Arsenal beat Tottenham to another signing, Nabil Fekir is set to move to Spain, while James Milner sweats over a new deal at Liverpool. It's Monday's Paper Round...
Bale to become first £1m-a-week footballer?
Gareth Bale is reportedly considering a contract worth £1 million per week with Chinese Super League club Beijing Guoan. The Mirror have revealed that the Real Madrid man could make a move to the Far East this summer after being shunned by manager Zinedine Zidane. The Spanish club are "desperate to offload" the 30-year-old and Zidane even admitted that he "hopes he [Bale] leaves soon" after leaving the Welshman out of his squad for the club's preseason friendly against Bayern Munich. Bale would become the first ever footballer to earn £1 million a week, with the tax-free offer from the Beijing club exceeding his current contract by a mega £400,000 a week.
Paper Round’s view: Obviously it would be extremely difficult to turn down such a huge amount of money, but Bale needs to weigh up whether he wants to sign a world-record contract or win trophies at the highest possible level. It's a given that the ex-Tottenham Hotspur forward will make plenty of money wherever he moves, but he needs to concentrate on getting fit and playing first-team football again. Bale is still very talented and has only just turned 30 years old, so he should really be looking to move to a top European club such as Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain or even Manchester United.
According to Mirror, the Gunners have pipped Tottenham Hotspur to the loan signing of Spanish playmaker Dani Ceballos, just days after reportedly beating their North London rivals to the acquisition of Saint Etienne defender William Saliba. Ceballos stole the headlines during Spain's U21 European Championship winning campaign in June and his name has been linked to multiple Premier League clubs in the aftermath. The Real Madrid midfielder looks likely to become a part of Unai Emery's side and a "much-needed addition to his midfield" that lost Aaron Ramsey to Juventus on a free transfer.
Paper Round’s view: Ceballos' loan move could be a very smart signing from Emery and the Arsenal transfer team, especially considering the rumoured low budget that has been given to the club for the summer. Arsenal fans will hope that the 22-year-old is able to fill the gaping hole left by Ramsey in their midfield, but they will also be delighted that their club was able to fight off their bitter rivals despite the lack of Champions League football at the Emirates Stadium in the coming season. However, realistically it probably would've been a different story if it was a permanent transfer instead of a loan signing, with Spurs linked to a big-money move for Giovani Lo Celso from Real Betis in recent weeks.
Staying in Seville, Betis are set to complete the cut-price signing of Lyon forward Nabil Fekir, according to The Sun. The World Cup winner was linked to a £52 million transfer to Liverpool last summer, but the Premier League side reportedly pulled out of the deal due to medical reasons. Fekir is into the final year of his current contract and Lyon are keen to move him on in order to avoid losing him for free next summer. Betis have taken advantage of the contract situation and are said to have agreed a bargain fee of just £27 million, with the Frenchman set to travel to Seville for his medical.
Paper Round’s view: It is surprising to see Fekir move for such a low fee, considering his talent and ability, especially to a club that failed to qualify for any European competition in the forthcoming season. Last summer Liverpool were keen to pay double the reported fee that has been agreed with Betis, so another approach this summer could've been a relatively cheap answer to Jurgen Klopp's lack of creativity in central midfield. The 26-year-old could easily light up La Liga and get himself a move to a European giant next summer.
James Milner has admitted that he is unsure whether Liverpool want to extend his contract beyond the end of the 2019-20 season. The 33-year-old is heading into the final year of his deal with the Merseyside club and the Telegraph report Milner has "expressed a desire" to sign an extension to stay at Liverpool. The Champions League winners risk losing the Englishman on a free transfer next summer if they fail to reach an agreement and Milner admitted he "hasn't heard anything" since talks with the club at the end of last season.
Paper Round’s view: Milner has been a sensational signing for Liverpool since his arrival on a free transfer from domestic rivals Manchester City in 2015. Klopp hailed the experienced midfielder "very influential on and off the pitch" during last season's successful campaign, which saw The Reds' vice-captain drive his side to a Champions League win and 97 points in the Premier League. Milner's persona and experience could be vital in helping him fight his case for a contract extension, but it's also fair to say that his fitness levels and footballing ability haven't seemed to slow down with age either.