De Bruyne offered new deal as City panic over European ban - Paper Round
Kevin De Bruyne is set for a bumper new contract, Arsenal want John Stones, Dean Henderson could be heading back to Sheffield United and Tahith Chong is staying at Manchester United. It's Monday's Paper Round...
A new deal for De Bruyne?
Manchester City are set to offer midfielder Kevin De Bruyne a new contract worth £350,000 per week, according to the Express. The 28-year-old signed a six-year deal back in January 2018, but the Premier League club are looking to tie De Bruyne down to a new five-year deal after another impressive season at the Etihad Stadium. City are willing to make the Belgian international their highest-paid player and are planning to use the gesture as a bid to convince De Bruyne to stay, despite fears of a two-year Champions League ban. The Manchester outfit have appealed their UEFA ban and are likely to hear the final decision before the end of this season.
Paper Round's view: Obviously Manchester City will be looking to keep all their current stars if their European ban is upheld. Losing De Bruyne would be disastrous, especially if the club was out of the Champions League for two seasons. European giants would be waiting to pounce and City would be forced to lower their asking prices if players were pushing for moves away. Hopefully by rewarding De Bruyne (and others) with a new and improved contract, the Premier League side will be able to hold onto their best players - even if the UEFA appeal is unsuccessful.
Arsenal willing to spend on Stones
The Gunners are looking at the possibility of purchasing England centre-back John Stones from Manchester City, according to the Star. The report states that Arsenal are willing to fork out £50 million for the defender, who has just two years left on his current deal at the Etihad Stadium. Stones is unlikely to be offered a new contract after falling out of favour under Pep Guardiola. Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta worked with Stones for more than two years, while he was Guardiola's assistant at City. The 37-year-old was reportedly interested in signing Stones on a six-month loan deal back in January, but the move failed to materialise, with Pablo Mari joining the north London club instead.
Paper Round's view: Imagine thinking that adding Stones to the already calamitous Arsenal backline will fix the defensive issues at Arsenal. Okay - that might be a bit harsh on the England international, but the City centre-half has really failed to improve his game since his £50 million move to Manchester back in 2016. It's unlikely that Arsenal will spend £50 million on a centre-back this summer, especially with William Saliba finally joining from Saint-Etienne and Pablo Mari likely to make his loan move permanent. The Gunners need to organise their summer business as early as possible, with a central midfielder likely a priority - as well as club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's ongoing contract situation.
Third time's a charm for Henderson
Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson could be set for a third consecutive loan spell at Premier League high-flyers Sheffield United. According to the Mail, the 22-year-old has "promised" his Sheffield United team-mates that he will return to Bramall Lane next season if he is not guaranteed a starting role at Old Trafford. David de Gea is the Red Devils' current number one, but he has come under some scrutiny lately after a drop off in form. Real Madrid have been linked with a summer transfer for De Gea recently, which United are said to be considering due to the return of Henderson from his loan spell. Henderson has impressed during his time in Sheffield and has gathered interest from the likes of Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Tottenham Hotspur.
Paper Round's view: It's completely understandable if Henderson wants to head back to Bramall Lane next term if he isn't starting for Manchester United. De Gea is such an influential player at Old Trafford and he has been a starter at the club for nearly nine years. It will be tough for Henderson to push De Gea out of the first team, but if Real Madrid make a move, it could make the decision for United. On the other hand, Sheffield United are flying this season. Henderson would love to return to the Blades again because he probably feels like part of the family in Sheffield. It's looking likely that they will qualify for a European competition next season, so the young stopper would want to be part of that historic European tour with a very special team.
Chong's going nowhere
Manchester United academy graduate Tahith Chong is reportedly staying at Old Trafford, despite the fact that his contract is set to expire this summer. The Telegraph reports that United are "confident" they can hold on to the 20-year-old, who has attracted the attention of the likes of Inter Milan, Juventus and Barcelona. Chong has started four matches so far this season for the Manchester club and an unnamed source at Old Trafford believes "the club can beat any interest" from abroad.
Paper Round's view: Manchester United have a rich history of producing top talent in their esteemed academy. Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is aware of the club's pride in their youth and has promoted plenty of young players into his squad since taking over from Jose Mourinho last season. Solskjaer obviously rates Chong and seems to be keen on keeping him at the club. Also, United will want to avoid another 'Paul Pogba situation'. The Manchester side knew that they had a talented player in Pogba, but ended up losing him for free to Juventus, only to bring him back to Old Trafford for a then-world-record fee just four years later. Chong will have to be patient, but United is probably the best place for him at the moment due to the faith that the club puts in its youngsters.