Paper Round: Atletico want Lacazette, Man Utd set to sign Championship star
Atletico Madrid want to sign Alexandre Lacazette whilst Manchester United are closing in on the signing of Championship star Daniel James. It's Friday's Paper Round.
Atletico want Lacazette
We begin with the back page of The Star which reports that Atletico Madrid are interested in signing Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette. Atletico have to replace Antoine Griezmann and they have put his compatriot Lacazette to the top of the list. The former Champions League finalists wanted to sign Lacazette when he was at Lyon and will be interested in again depending on whether or not Arsenal can qualify for next season's Champions League.
Paper Round's view: As the article points out this only raises the pressure on Arsenal ahead of their Europa League final clash with Chelsea. If they want to keep Lacazette, and attract players of a similar calibre, then it is imperative that they win the Europa League and secure Champions League football. Losing the 27-year-old would be a massive blow, one Arsenal can't afford.
United closing in on James
We move now to The Mail who report that Manchester United are closing in on signing Swansea City winger Daniel James for a fee of around £10 million. James, 21, has been one of the stars of the season in the Championship and has attracted interest from a host of Premier League clubs. However, United are prepared to offer the best package and win the race, with the youngster likely to play out on the right for his new club.
Paper Round's view: James is a very exciting young player but this still comes as a slightly surprising signing. It doesn't really fit the mould of a typical United signing under Ed Woodward and you cannot help but wonder if Ryan Giggs had any influence in the deal. Regardless it is going to be fascinating to see how James copes with the step up.
Barca keeping options open
We now have a slightly tentative story that Barcelona are keeping their striking options open despite being linked heavily to Antoine Griezmann. Barca are reportedly favourites but are wary of being burnt by the World Cup winner after the forward pulled out of a deal last summer. To that end Marcus Rashford, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Lacazette are all under consideration.
Paper Round's view: This is a slightly odd line in many ways. It stands to reason that Barca would be interested in these players but surely these are only contingency plans? Yes Griezmann backed out of a transfer before but he seems to be a lot more certain this time...
Leeds fear Bielsa exit
We end with a report in The Mail that says that Leeds United fear that Marcelo Bielsa will walk away from the club after failing to secure promotion. Bielsa gave an emotional speech to his players after their play-off semi-final defeat to Derby County with most assuming it meant he was planning to leave. Leeds want to activate the 12-month extension clause in his contract but will still have to sit down with the Argentine to convince him to stay.
Paper Round's view: Bielsa's first season in England has been everything we hoped it would be, and a whole lot more. The neutral will want him to stay and he has worked wonders with this Leeds team, they are more than ready to challenge for promotion once more. Paper Round really hopes Bielsa stays for one more crack at getting into the Premier League.