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Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs in pursuit of Coutinho - Paper Round

Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs in pursuit of Coutinho - Paper Round

21/03/2020 at 22:50Updated 21/03/2020 at 22:55

Everyone wants Philippe Coutinho, Derby County may lose Jason Knight and Louis Siblie, Unai Emery plots his return, and there could be a hold-up for La Liga.

Four clubs face off for Coutinho

Former Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho will not return to Anfield but he could make his way back to England with four Premier League sides interested in taking him on loan next season. The 27-year-old Brazilian is on loan at Bayern Munich from Barcelona, paying his £240,000-a-week wages, and Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs are interested, according to the Mirror.

Paper Round’s view: Coutinho has lost his way a little since he failed to settle at Barcelona, and with coronavirus hampering the finances of Europe’s top clubs, a huge transfer fee would probably put them off. However, the same development means that Barcelona may be willing to let him leave on a cheap deal for a year or two to avoid having to pay Coutinho’s wages anymore.

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Derby may lose duo

Coronavirus has further exacerbated the financial stress at Championship side Derby County, too. The Sun reports that Jason Knight, 19, and Louie Sibley, 18, have impressed since breaking into the first team, but they could move on in the summer. Because of the precarious financial position Derby find themselves in, they fear they will be offered lowball fees.

Paper Round’s view: Derby County have been teetering on the edge of severe financial distress for quite some time now, and it seems the worst time to be looking for outside investment. Selling Knight and Sibley could be a lifeline, but only if they are in a position to make sure they can raise sizeable funds and hold the line if any clubs try to bargain too hard.

Emery considers Italian job

Former Arsenal boss Unai Emery is looking for his next job following his departure from the club. The Spaniard is taking some time out, but the Mail reports him as saying: “'I won't rule out any country: England, France, Spain, where I already worked, or Italy, which I've never worked in before. I did have some contact with several Italian clubs, but for one reason or another, it was not possible to work here. I am open to everything and keep a very close eye on Serie A.”

Paper Round’s view: Emery’s direct football would transfer perfectly well to Serie A, though the same was expected when he moved to Arsenal. He also struggled to assert himself at Paris Saint-Germain, so perhaps he needs to aim lower down the league in order to be able to operate with authority over whichever squad he inherits.

Spanish coaches want pre-season

Coaches in Spain are keen on giving sides a pre-season when La Liga restarts, which might cause problems in the quest to get the competition finished. This time speaking to Spanish newspaper Marca, Emery said: "The fair thing when they return would be for all of the teams to have the same time to have a pre-season, whether that's seven, 10 or 14 days."

Paper Round’s view: Other coaches quoted have a similar opinion, but players are already being asked to keep fit at home, and presumably they are not able to go out partying and lose too much of their physical edge. Regardless, this is an imperfect situation and the most important thing is to simply return to football when it is finally safe to do so.