Bale out in January?
Real Madrid will consider selling Gareth Bale in January, the Mirror reports, while the player himself wants to leave the Spanish club. Bale flew to London on Monday to meet with agent Jonathan Barnett – 48 hours before Real face Leganes in La Liga – where the Welshman’s future was a topic of conversation. The former Tottenham winger almost moved to Chinese Super League club Jiangsu Suning during the summer, only for Real to pull the deal at the last minute, while Manchester United and Bayern Munich are among the clubs said to be interested. Over in Spain, Marca reports that a move to China is back on the cards.
Paper Round’s view: One of the summer’s biggest transfer sagas is already making headlines ahead of January. Bale will always be linked with a move so long as he remains at Real, it has become part and parcel of his time in Madrid, but just when you think it’s coming to an end there is always a twist. Can he really stay beyond next summer? Only if Zinedine Zidane doesn’t, you’d think.
Back Xhak - stick or twist?
Arsenal head coach Unai Emery will let his players have a say on whether Granit Xhaka should remain as the club’s captain, that is unless the midfielder decides to relinquish the role himself, the Daily Mail reports. Xhaka was jeered off the pitch on Sunday and told fans to “f*** off” before heading down the tunnel, prompting mixed reactions to his behaviour and that of the Arsenal supporters. And now, after Xhaka reportedly left the Emirates before full-time and was then visited by three team-mates, it could be down to his fellow players as to whether he remains club captain.
Paper Round’s view: Both Xhaka and the supporters who jeered him have come across poorly in this latest episode of Arsenal captains do the silliest things. The furore will die down, but whether he can recover from this fallout remains to be seen.
The ‘heir to Paul Pogba’
Manchester United are reportedly considering a move for Lille midfielder Boubakary Soumare, the Mirror reports. The 20-year-old would be seen as replacement for Paul Pogba, who has been linked with Real Madrid and Juventus this past year. Soumare would be able to sign a pre-contract agreement in January with his current deal expiring at Lille in the summer.
Paper Round’s view: A long-term replacement, maybe, but Soumare is not the immediate answer to United’s midfield problems. There will also be the matter of who is in charge at United to see this potential pre-contract agreement through.
Back to Liverpool for Karius?
Besiktas are looking to terminate their loan agreement with Loris Karius and send the goalkeeper back to Liverpool in January, the Daily Mail reports. Karius joined the Turkish club on a two-year loan at the start of the 2018-19 season, but they are reportedly losing patience with the shotstopper after a string of poor performances.
Paper Round’s view: It has been a tough 16 or so months for Karius following his Champions League final blunder. A premature return to Liverpool would see him slot in as their third-choice behind Alisson Becker and Adrian, so you imagine a move away again would be in the offing immediately.