Man City want Lautaro Martinez, UEFA plan for Champions League restart, Nicklas Bendtner wants to manage, and Arsenal players reject a pay cut.
City lead the race for Martinez
Manchester City are heading the pack to sign Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez. The 22-year-old Argentine striker has a £97.5 million release clause, and Inter can't persuade him to sign a new deal. Chelsea, Real Madrid and Barcelona are all interested but can't afford to sign him at that price. Pep Guardiola sees him as Sergio Aguero’s replacement, the Sun claims.
Paper Round’s view: City will have to explain how they can afford almost £100m in transfer fees and more in wages, because they are on the cusp of a Champions League ban due to their failure to meet Financial Fair Play regulations. However, if they and their owners can somehow get the money to Inter Milan then he seems like an excellent long term option.
UEFA are planning to finish both the Champions League and the Europa League before the end of the year, at least, according to the Mirror. They are planning to play the remaining fixtures in a three-week block in August, when the domestic leagues have finished. UEFA are happy to play the games behind closed doors if that is necessary.
Paper Round’s view: UEFA and the domestic leagues have such huge figures riding on completing their obligations that they are finding it almost impossible to contemplate simply writing off the games ahead and starting afresh in September. It is clear they need the money to survive, and perhaps governments could step in to facilitate cancellation rather than risking a premature restart.
Former Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner believes he can become a manager and succeed, reports the Mail on Sunday. The Danish striker left Copenhagen in the summer after playing for them for just four months, but the 32-year-old forward is keen to eventually move into management, saying: "I really want to take the coaching courses, so I have what it takes. I think that at some point, before I am 40 or 45 years old, I will have taken charge of my first club."
Paper Round’s view: Bendtner is clearly no fool, and he had the footballing talent to break into Arsenal’s first-team squad as a teenager. His problem is one of application though, and now that he is moving towards the end of his career he may be able to find some discipline and focus to develop a more successful second stage of his life.
The Telegraph leads with a story that suggests that Arsenal have told their players that they can avoid a pay cut if they manage to qualify for the Champions League. However the paper says that the players are not impressed by the offer and negotiations will continue over their level of pay.
Paper Round’s view: Arsenal are one of the most cash rich clubs in Europe, so one can understand that the players are not entirely impressed with the notion of a pay cut. However, the lack of confidence in their own ability does rather show how they have fallen off the pace in the Premier League, and bargaining this hard may prevent the club from rebuilding next season.