Grealish… Sancho… Sterling?!

The Independent’s story detailing Manchester United’s list of summer targets features some familiar names at the beginning; Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish, Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho, and one of RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano or Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly. But about halfway down the article, a surprise name jumps out of the page…

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“More intriguing is one name suddenly high up in priority, and who the analytics department have been working on. That is Raheem Sterling,” the article said.

Nobody sees the player as any way likely to go to Manchester United, but some do feel it is a reflection of a relative uncertainty around his future if Manchester City’s Champions League ban is upheld. In other words, if he becomes available, United will go for him.

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Paper Round’s view: Wishful thinking. It’s all very speculative, as highlighted in the piece, but we’ll soon get a definitive answer on City’s European ban, with their appeal beginning at the Court of Arbitration for Sport on June 8. Kevin De Bruyne has hinted his future could lie elsewhere if the ban is upheld, and in the coming week we’ll see more names linked with a move away ahead of what will be a significant decision either way.


Another £6m on Ighalo

Manchester United paid Shanghai Shenhua £6m in order to extend Odion Ighalo's loan until the end of January, the Daily Mail reports. United will also continue to pay just under half of Ighalo's £300,000-a-week wages. It will mean the Chinese club have received £10.5m in total from United, who will not have an option to buy the 30-year-old striker when the deal expires on January 31 next year.

Paper Round’s view: The extension is a reward for Ighalo’s steady start at United, and allows him to complete a dream spell at his boyhood club. He was never going to be the main attraction at Old Trafford, but he could yet play his part in securing a Champions League spot for United, and potentially a Europa League too.


Real reluctant to sign Willian

Real Madrid have turned down the chance to sign Willian for free this summer, according to the Mirror. The Brazilian will be a free agent when his Chelsea contract expires, and Real are not keen on meeting the 32-year-old’s desire for a three-year contract. Tottenham and Arsenal have also been linked with the player, while Chelsea are not willing to offer players over 30 with more than a two-year deal.

Paper Round’s view: Real have wide forwards aplenty in Eden Hazard, Gareth Bale, Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo, Marcos Asensio, Lucas Vazquez… They don’t need another.


Hasenhuttl set to sign new Saints deal

Ralph Hasenhuttl is set to sign a new four-year contract at Southampton on Tuesday, The Sun reports. The Saints have been holding off on the extension due to the coronavirus pandemic and Premier League’s postponement. However, with the league returning on June 17 the club are ready to extend the 52-year-old’s contract.

Paper Round’s view: They’re 14th in the table, but need just two more wins to hit the 40-point mark, meaning they are just out of the relegation dogfight… All bodes well for an extension, which would reaffirm Hasenhuttl’s commitment to Southampton and vice versa.

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