Arsenal and United in for Rakitic and Umtiti
Manchester United and Arsenal are on alert over the possible availability of Barcelona players Ivan Rakitic and Samuel Umtiti, according to the Sun. The pair are available as Barcelona look to hit an income target of £1.3 billion.. Both Arsenal and United expressed interest in the players in the summer transfer window and could now go back in for them.
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Paper Round’s view: Rakitic is the wrong side of30 and it could be a mistake to bring him to the Premier League with no guarantee that he could properly adjust to the rigours of Engish football. However Umtiti is approaching his prime, and with the lack of central defenders in modern football, should be a target for any big Euopean side.
Mourinho non-committal over Real
The Mirror reports on Jose Mourinho’s response to speculation over a potential return to Real Madrid. Zinedine Zidane is already under pressure at the Spanish side and Florentino Perez is a known admirer of the Portuguese. Mourinho told Deportes Cuatro: "You can't train a team that already has a coach,” when asked if he was taking over.
Paper Round’s view: That is a statement of fact from Mourinho but it also serves to show that he is not denying an interest. All he is doing is pointing out for now that he will not force his way into a club, and may respect Zidane enough not to openly start pressing for a return to Real Madrid.
Arteta may replace Guardiola
Pep Guardiola has said that his assistant Mikel Arteta could be the man to replace him at Manchester City when the time comes for him to move on, the Telegraph reports. Arteta has turned down the chance to manage elsewhere so far, and Guardiola said on the chances of Arteta succeeding him: “I’m pretty sure, yes. He will have success, yes. But he decided to stay - thanks - but everyone decides what he’ll do in the future. Sooner or later it’s going to happen.”
Paper Round’s view: Arteta appears to have settled in easily at Manchester City. It is evidently does not concern him that he could soon be facing questions about human rights abuse because he would not already be employed by City if that were the case. For the future, his intelligence on the pitch could soon be translated to a tactical intelligence when or if he takes over from Guardiola.
West Brom loan causes controversy
West Bromwich Albion are in a legal battle with their own fans over the discovery and non-payment of a loan made by former owner Jeremy Peace. Peace loaned £3.7 million to the club, a sum which has never been repaid, and which the current Chinese owners have allowed to go into default. That has set fan shareholders against the majority owners.
Jeremy Peace (right)
Image credit: Eurosport
Paper Round’s view: It is unclear what will be the outcome as the majority owners claim they are unable to pay the money back, but it is another sign that ownership in English football causes some potentially seriously disruptive events. The amount owed now sits at £4.1 million, a big sum for any club without access to Premier League revenue.
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