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United given Bellingham boost as Arsenal plan Celtic raid - Paper Round

United given Bellingham boost as Arsenal plan Celtic raid - Paper Round
By Eurosport

24/03/2020 at 00:05Updated 24/03/2020 at 00:22

Manchester United's pursuit of Birmingham City starlet Jude Bellingham has been buoyed after Borussia Dortmund pulled out of the race to sign the youngster.

Manchester United close in on Jude Bellingham

Manchester United's pursuit of Jude Bellingham has been boosted after Borussia Dortmund pulled out of the race to sign the 16-year-old Birmingham City starlet, according to the Daily Mirror. Dortmund had been favourites to land Bellingham this summer but their transfer plans have been put on ice due to the coronavirus pandemic, much to the delight of United, who were keen not to lose out to the German side again after being beaten to Erling Braut Haaland's signature in January. Chelsea and Bayern Munich remain interested, however.

Paper Round’s view: Borussia Dortmund are arguably right to exercise caution. Given the recent reports that Barcelona are going to be forced to ask their players to take pay cuts for the duration of the current crisis, it is obvious that clubs across Europe are going to have to tighten their belts. That means avoiding transfer market gambles, which Bellingham certainly is, despite his obvious talent, due to his precocious age.

Video - Chelsea set to battle Barca for Porto ace - Euro Papers

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Arsenal chase Celtic hitman

Arsenal have entered the race for Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard, according to the football.london. Brendan Rodgers, who brought him to the Glasgow side, is already preparing a £30 million bid to sign him for Leicester but could now face competition from the Gunners, who are looking to rebuild their squad this summer, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang unlikely to sign a new contract.

Paper Round's view: Arsenal will certainly need to spend big on their front line if Aubameyang is to leave the club and Edouard's goalscoring record in Scotland clearly indicates that he is a forward capable of filling that void up top. The Emirates Stadium would likely be a preferred destination for Edouard, given Arsenal's reputation for nurturing young talent and history with his fellow Frenchmen.

Premier League players to reject behind-closed-doors option

Footballers across England are ready to signal their disagreement with plans to restart the season behind closed doors after football was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Premier League had been eager to fulfil broadcast contracts and wanted to start as soon as the weekend of May 2-3. However, the PFA (the players' union) is against this option due to concerns about improper usage of essential emergency service workers, their own safety and that of their families, and their uneagerness to lock loyal fans out of matches.

Paper Round’s view: This is an awkward one and the progress of the disease needs to be monitored. Footballers are first and foremost human beings, but they are also entertainers and with so much of the country grinding to a halt, so many people who are locked up in their homes could use the boost of watching their favourite teams play. Should quicker tests be made available to suspected Covid-19 cases and the current situation in Britain improve over the coming weeks, then playing behind closed doors should be considered, if footballers' safety can be guaranteed.

Jose Mourinho delivering coronavirus care packages

With football suspended, Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho has started delivering essential food packages to elderly people who have been advised to stay inside due to their vulnerability to the coronavirus, according to The Sun. The former Chelsea and Real Madrid manager is doing so on behalf of the charities Age UK and Love Your Doorstep in the Enfield area, which is the home of Tottenham's state-of-the-art training ground.

Paper Round’s view: This is certainly admirable from Mourinho. That so many star players and managers have been diagnosed with coronavirus is a testament to the fact that football is not insulated from this pandemic and, given the riches involved and the important roles that clubs play in communities, it is certainly nice to see Mourinho giving something back.

Alaba signals intention to leave Bayern Munich

There is set to be a battle between Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester City this summer to sign David Alaba, who is looking to leave Bayern Munich after 12 years of service with the Bavarian club, according to German tabloid Bild. Pep Guardiola wants to sign the versatile Austrian to replace the inconsistent Benjamin Mendy at left-back but the player would prefer a move to either Madrid or Barca. He has just one year left on his Bayern contract, making a move all the more likely.

Paper Round’s view: Alaba is undoubtedly a player of incredible talent who has established himself as a fine player, whether at left-back, centre-back or the heart of midfield. Any club would be lucky to secure his services, and it would be entirely fair to suggest that a huge bidding war could ensue.