Juventus want Virgil van Dijk, Manchester United still a Saudi Arabian target as Ed Woodward fails to show, and WIllie McKay is back in the news.
Juventus want Van Dijk
There’s a surprising rumour leading the Sun, with a story that Italian champions Juventus want to buy Liverpool central defender Virgil van Dijk. The paper reports on a £150 million bid being discussed by Juve, with a source quoted as saying: “After winning a bagful of trophies with Liverpool, Juventus think he may be ready for a new challenge at the end of the season — especially as he’s been playing in the UK for a few years. And the club are actively planning to make a huge bid for him in the summer.”
Paper Round’s view: Van Dijk has spent most of his career in Britain and has already won the Champions League with Liverpool. Winning the Premier League would represent perhaps the peak of his career, and while it would be a shock to see him leave at the top of his game, the 28-year-old Dutchman may want to experience football in a new league.
Real launch €180m deadline day bid for Liverpool star, so Bale can go to Spurs - Euro Papers
MBS still wants United takeover
The Mirror believes that Saudi Arabia prince and de facto head, Mohammed bin Salman, still wants to complete a takeover of Manchester United - despite also being linked with a consortium who want to buy a stake in Newcastle. The £4 billion takeover has long been rumoured with the summer seeing plenty of speculation. Mike Ashley, Newcastle United’s current owner, remains sceptical that the Saudis will follow through on their interest in the club.
Paper Round’s view: There are clearly supporters of either United who would like the Saudi takeover to materialise, but nothing concrete has happened yet, and given the geopolitical difficulties of such an event, any move is likely to take several months at least. Any fans should also consider whether they want owners with such a miserable record in human rights, too.
Ed Woodward missed Manchester United’s game against Wolverhampton Wanderers, the first match at Old Trafford since a visit from a group of United fans last week to his Cheshire home. Woodward’s seats were left empty at the ground during the match on Saturday evening, with rumours of a walkout that failed to materialise in the 68th minute, according to the Daily Mail.
Paper Round’s view: It is no surprise that Woodward ducked the game. He would prefer to duck any confrontation for both his own safety and to avoid continuing a story that threatens to overtake United’s season. Given the club struggled to score against Wolves, then further chanting and protests would almost have been an inevitability if he were present to witness it.
Football dealer Willie McKay has been accused of acting without a licence in a proposed football transfer. The former agent has been linked with the proposed move of Abdoulaye Toure, the current Nantes striker. McKay was previously involved in the deal that saw Emiliano Sala move from the French club to then Premier League side Cardiff City, reports the Telegraph.
Paper Round’s view: It is important to get the facts straight over any involvement in the deal for Toure to another side, but it does seem controversial that McKay could be acting in professional football again, whether or not he has broken any rules or regulations in doing so. No doubt there will be further investigations to clarify his exact actions of late.