Manchester United close in on Jadon Sancho, the coronavirus crisis deepens for English clubs and Premier League players donate to the NHS. It's Monday's Paper Round...
Sancho set to become Red Devil
Manchester United are confident they have beaten rivals Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool to the record-breaking signing of England international Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund. According to the Sun, the Red Devils have agreed a contract with the 20-year-old after "months of secret talks" with Sancho and his representatives. The Sun state that the contract length, salary, bonuses and even a buyout clause have been agreed between the club and player. Sancho is set to cost United significantly more than the £89 million they paid for Paul Pogba back in 2016, who remains the Premier League's record signing.
Paper Round's view: It's very difficult to get transfers done in secret these days due to the increased media coverage around the sport, but fair play to the United officials involved in sneaking ahead of their rivals to secure Sancho's signature. The club is constantly linked with big-money transfers, with Tottenham's Harry Kane and Juventus' Matthijs de Ligt both rumoured to be on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's summer shopping list, but a move for the Dortmund winger makes much more sense. United spent a huge fee bringing in club captain and central defender Harry Maguire last summer and the club also knows Spurs are reluctant to negotiate with a domestic rival. Signing Sancho would create a threatening front three of Sancho, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford... be afraid Premier Legaue defenders!
All football clubs have taken a huge financial hit due to the coronavirus crisis, but the Mirror are reporting that an unnamed "Premier League giant" is losing £9 million each week. The media outlet states that the club in England's top tier could face taking out a loan of £100 million just to cover the eye-watering losses that have hit their finances during the lockdown period. Football clubs in the Premier League are known for having extremely high wage bills due to the television deals, but the clubs are reportedly having to pay back up to £750 million to the broadcasters due to the break in play, with no potential return date in sight.
Paper Round's view: Clubs are no longer receiving gate receipts, sponsorship deals and their match day revenues, but their outgoing spend is still around the same level because of salaries and contracts with their staff and players. It's going to be tough when football returns and life goes back to normality because it's unlikely that it will be 'normal' any time soon. Premier League clubs were probably making summer transfers plans which are now up in the air. It will be difficult to see clubs going out and spending hundreds of millions of pounds on signings when their finances have been hit so hard during this current period.
In the English Football League (EFL), the Telegraph are reporting that clubs could face transfer restrictions if they choose to defer the wages of their players and staff during the coronavirus outbreak. Some football clubs have put agreements in place with their squad to lower wages in order to save the club some money while there is a pause in the season. EFL chairman Rick Parry is said to be ready to address any future issues that could arise from this, which could include placing transfer restrictions on the clubs who are deferring wages as it could give them a financial advantage over the clubs which are paying their players and staff in full.
Paper Round's view: It's actually a fair idea. If some clubs are paying their staff in full and others aren't, it will affect the domestic transfer market. Clubs that aren't paying wages in full could poach a player from a rival club due to having a financial advantage. It's also tough on a moral level to see a club use this crisis to their advantage in this way. If players and staff are either asked to take a pay cut or are being furloughed, then the club shouldn't really go out in the summer and spend millions in the transfer market if they can't pay their employees in full.
In more positive news, The Players Together initiative has made its first contribution to the NHS. The Mirror have reported that the charity - which was set up by Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson and other Premier League stars - is now underway. Harry Maguire, Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling are just a few of the names involved in donating some of their salaries towards the NHS during the coronavirus crisis. Premier League players faced criticism from Health Minister Matt Hancock recently as he demanded they "do their bit" during the outbreak - hinting at the players taking a wage cut. However, the players decided together to donate a percentage of their wage to the NHS, instead of giving it back to club owners.
Paper Round's view: It's a lovely initiative from the players at Premier League clubs. It's easy to point the finger and say they earn loads of money and should be helping out, but the players involved should be praised for their actions and donations. It's a shame that we've got into a situation where the NHS has to rely on donations, but the fact that the players have joined together to help is a story to bring a smile to the faces of readers. Liverpool's Jordan Henderson reportedly led the initiative and he should be lauded for his action. Footballers get a lot of bad press, but we should definitely commend them when they deserve it.