goalkeeper Andre Onana of Ajax Amsterdam controls the ball during the UEFA Champions League group H match between AFC Ajax and Chelsea FC at Amsterdam Arena on October 23, 2019 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Manchester United eye up a new stopper, Chelsea wish to add midfield competition, a familiar face could return to Old Trafford and Manuel Pellegrini is backed by the bosses. It's Monday's Paper Round...
United want competition for De Gea
Manchester United have joined the race to sign highly-rated Ajax stopper Andre Onana, despite current keeper David de Gea only signing a new contract worth £115 million in September. The Sun report that the Premier League club are competing with domestic rivals Tottenham Hotspur and French champions Paris Saint-Germain to sign Onana, who is valued at £50 million by Ajax.
Paper Round's view: It would be baffling to see United spend such a huge fee on a goalkeeper when they've only just tied De Gea down to a new deal. There are clearly other issues that need addressing in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's squad and these need prioritising. There is a lack of creativity in midfield and the club doesn't really have a recognised centre-forward in the squad. These problems need to be fixed and signing an expensive substitute stopper wouldn't be a good use of spending money.
Chelsea identify January transfer target if ban is lifted
Chelsea are preparing to appeal their two-window transfer ban ahead of January and the Blues boss Frank Lampard has already decided on his number one winter target should it be overturned. The Sun report that Lampard wants to bring in Sergej Milinkovic-Savic from Lazio to create more competition in midfield, with Chelsea scouts already having been sent to watch the Serbian star in Serie A this season. The 24-year-old is valued at £70 million by his club and the West London side will face competition from Manchester United over the signing of 'SMS'.
Paper Round's view: Milinkovic-Savic has been very highly-rated for a couple of seasons now, but interest on him has significantly cooled since its peak around the 2018 World Cup finals. The midfielder's goal tally halved last term but he is starting to look like he is back to his best, which has sparked interest from Chelsea. Lampard is yet to make a signing at Stamford Bridge, but he actually has plenty of options in the centre of midfield. Ruben Loftus-Cheek is yet to return from rupturing his Achilles tendon and will offer something new for the Blues once he makes his comeback which could potentially save Chelsea £70 million.
Manchester United are reportedly "in contact" with former striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic over a potential return to the club, according to the Mail. The 38-year-old joined the Premier League side on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain back in 2016, winning three trophies in his debut season at Old Trafford before moving to MLS side LA Galaxy. His time in the United States has come to an end and he is on the search for a new club. He has attracted interest from Italian side Napoli and Milan, but United are still "in a desperate search for striking reinforcements".
Paper Round's view: There are new stories about Zlatan's future every day. The former Sweden international played his last match for LA Galaxy on October 24 and has been linked with half of Europe since then. It wouldn't be the worst idea for United to re-sign him as the club is lacking a natural centre-forward, but it's difficult to tell if he would be at Premier League level after two years in the States. Either way, United need some kind of inspiration and Zlatan has the experience to rejuvenate a struggling side - so his return to Old Trafford would probably be welcomed.
Manuel Pellegrini has been given "full backing" by the chiefs at West Ham in his role as manager, despite a torrid run of form in the last couple of months. The Mirror report that the Hammers will continue to back the 66-year-old even though they now sit in 16th place in the Premier League table. Pellegrini's side haven't won in seven matches, with their last win coming back in September at home to Manchester United. The London club's upcoming fixtures don't get any easier with matches against Tottenham, Chelsea, Wolves and Arsenal after the international break.
Paper Round's view: Manuel Pellegrini really needs a result. The loss of his trusted number one Lukasz Fabianski has been disastrous as his deputy Roberto looks deprived of confidence between the sticks. The club invested heavily in the summer, spending over £60 million on Sebastian Haller and Pablo Fornals. French forward Haller had a strong start but has faded, while Fornals has failed to impress. Pellegrini desperately needs his players to step up during the run-in towards Christmas, otherwise he could be spending his festive period at home instead of on the touchline.