Firmino and Sane top Bayern's summer wishlist - Paper Round
Bayern Munich plan a Premier League summer raid, Liverpool look to bring in a new forward, Chelsea identify Kepa replacement and Manchester City face fixture pile-up. It's Monday's Paper Round...
Bayern plan Premier League double raid
Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich are preparing a raid on the Premier League with a double swoop for Liverpool's Roberto Firmino and Manchester City's Leroy Sane planned for this summer. According to the Sun, Bayern are looking to bring in Firmino to "help lead a new era of dominance in Germany" as Robert Lewandowski approaches his 32nd birthday. Bayern believe £75 million could be the fee to prise the Brazilian forward away from Anfield. The Bavarian club have held long-term interest in Sane and were close to completing a deal for the German winger before he suffered a serious knee injury last August.
Paper Round's view: Replacing Lewandowski isn't going to be an easy job, but Firmino's unique playing style could really benefit Bayern's wide forwards. The Polish striker doesn't seem to be slowing up, which is the main issue in the touted £75 million deal for Firmino. Why would Bayern spend such a huge fee on a new striker when they already have one of the best in the world in Lewandowski? Maybe a move for the Brazilian could be more of a long-term target. However, it is expected that the reigning Bundesliga champions will sign Sane this summer. It could be a massive risk as he is yet to return from a serious knee injury, but the German was one of the Premier League's best players before being sidelined.
Liverpool look to accelerate Werner move
Liverpool are planning to make a summer move for RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner, who has a reported release clause of £51 million, according to the Sun. Werner looks likely to leave Leipzig at the end of the season and Jurgen Klopp has identified him as a potential transfer target. Liverpool have also thought about the idea of bringing in Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho - but the England international would cost over £120 million.
Paper Round's view: This is a deal that could be viewed as helpful for Bayern in their chase for Firmino. If Liverpool sign a new striker in the summer, it could free up Firmino to leave Anfield. However, the Reds aren't realistically going to let any of their key players leave as they plan to defend the inevitable Premier League title they will win in May. Liverpool are going to lose Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah for a short period due to next year's Africa Cup of Nations being moved back to January, so it makes sense for Klopp to add another attacker to his squad. Werner is mainly a centre-forward, but he has the ability to play in a wider role due to his pace and playing style.
Chelsea to beat rivals to Kepa replacement
Chelsea are set to beat the likes of Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Tottenham Hotspur to the signing of Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana, according to the Sun. The Dutch champions are reportedly requesting around £35 million for the Cameroon international, who is wanted by Chelsea manager Frank Lampard. The Blues' boss wants to sign a replacement for current keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, who he has dropped following a string of poor performances this season. The Spaniard is currently the world's most expensive goalkeeper and Chelsea will be likely to take a loss if he was sold.
Paper Round's view: Chelsea should be more patient with Kepa. He was bought as a long-term investment and he's still only 25 years old. When David De Gea joined Manchester United, he struggled in the Premier League, but then he became one of the best keepers in the world. It's unlikely that the west London club will recoup much of the £71 million fee they paid to Athletic Bilbao and he joined in 2018 so maybe Chelsea should keep him for another year and allow him to continue adapting to England. Onana is a top stopper, but he probably isn't a priority for this Chelsea side if they are unable to sell Kepa for a decent fee.
City face fixture pile-up after West Ham postponement
Manchester City face the prospect of playing two matches per week for the remainder of the season after Storm Ciara postponed their game against West Ham on Sunday. City are still involved in all three cup competitions, with upcoming midweek ties in the FA Cup and Champions League coming up soon. Pep Guardiola's side also face Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup final on March 1, meaning they will have another postponed Premier League match. If City reach the finals of the FA Cup and Champions League they will have to play 24 matches in 14 weeks.
Paper Round's view: 24 matches in 14 weeks is an incredible amount of football to deal with. Obviously City might not reach both cup finals, so it's not guaranteed that they will play this number of matches, but you can't write it off. Pep Guardiola has already repeatedly criticised the English football schedule, but this year's inaugural winter break meant that his side ended up having two weeks off because of the West Ham postponement. People will point to the size of the Manchester City squad and its depth in quality, but it still doesn't mean that it's okay to play 24 matches in such a short period of time - especially with international tournaments looming large this summer.