United confident of Sancho transfer
Manchester United are confident of signing Borussia Dortmund forward Jadon Sancho, according to the Mirror. Chelsea want the 19-year-old England international because they anticipate the departure of wide players Pedro and Willian, but Ed Woodward is determined to beat Frank Lampard’s side to the former Manchester City player, with a £120 million fee mentioned.
Paper Round’s view: Manchester United and Chelsea are both reportedly keen on Sancho, and the attitude of Chelsea is one of confidence, too. Woodward has a track record of over-promising and under-delivering for each of his managers, so any reports of United’s transfer plans should be taken with a pinch of salt. Chelsea meanwhile, should have plenty of dry powder after their transfer ban.
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Chelsea track Ziyech
While United think they will sign Sancho ahead of Chelsea, the London club are training their sights on Ajax playmaker Hakim Ziyech. The 26-year-old Moroccan international will cost around £42 million in the summer, with Ajax unwilling to sell him in the winter transfer window. Chelsea boss Frank Lampard will then look to Leicester City’s Ben Chilwell, a striker, a central defender and possibly a goalkeeper too.
Paper Round’s view: Ziyech had an excellent season for Ajax during their impressive Champions League season, and might have moved on had Frenkie De Jong and Matthijs De Ligt not left at the same time. £42 million is a relatively low fee these days, especially for a player who has proven himself at the top level of European football - the question will be over his consistency in the Premier League.
Pochettino spotted with United man
Manchester United’s new public relations man was spotted with former Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino, reports the Sun. Neil Ashton, who previously worked at the Sun and Daily Mail before moving to Old Trafford, was pictured at the Brentford v Leeds United game with Pochettino. It is not clear how much contact there was between the pair, as they sat a fair distance apart throughout the game.
Paper Round’s view: It’s not worth assuming too much, given Ashton and Pochettino would have simply met in private had they been negotiating for a deal in the summer. But it’s worth keeping in mind that Pochettino does not have an agent, so any contact between United and Pochettino might end up being more direct than would be the case with other candidates.
Barcelona consider their options
Spanish champions Barcelona are considering their options over which striker they might sign in emergency circumstances, according to the Daily Mail. Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele are both out for months, meaning that they might bring in 32-year-old Angel Rodriguez from Getafe, Willian Jose (28) of Real Sociedad, 31-year-old former Arsenal player Lucas Perez - now at Alaves - or Loren Moron (26) of Real Betis.
Paper Round’s view: Rodriguez has a transfer release clause of £9 million, making him probably the cheapest option but certainly a stopgap at his age. Moron is the youngest, and has worked with Quique Setien before, which might make him the smart choice to hit the ground running at a new club. Realistically, Barcelona just need someone to help fill out the numbers.