Arsenal may still end up signing Pablo Mari permanently, despite his season-ending injury. Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta wants to keep the 26-year-old central defender, reports the Telegraph newspaper, and he has an option to sign him for about £8 million. This is despite the financial pressures from coronavirus which may cause them to lose David Luiz.
Paper Round’s view: Mari merely has an injury, while Luiz has shown yet again that he is occasionally hapless at the back, so there is good reason for Arteta to want to keep the young option, who may ultimately prove the cheaper transfer too over the course of a few seasons. Given Arsenal have little money, £8 million may be too cheap to ignore.
Could Ronaldo make Real Madrid return? – Euro Papers
BT may show games for free
Broadcaster BT is planning to show Premier League games for free to fans of sides who hold season tickets, according to the Sun. The company said: "BT Sport is working with Premier League clubs to offer their season ticket holders free access to home Premier League matches, broadcast on BT Sport, for the remainder of the 2019/20 season.The BT Sport Match Pass is for eligible season ticket holders of participating clubs who do not already have BT Sport.We are speaking to all clubs to put in place the processes to make this happen.”
Paper Round’s view: Season ticket holders will understandably be keen for refunds on their tickets but they will nevertheless have been denied the experience of seeing their club at the climax of the season. If BT can organise a way to show football to those entitled to it then it would go some way to easing the financial and sporting stresses as a result of the coronavirus.
The Daily Mail reports that Stoke City manager Michael O’Neill has recovered from coronavirus and is ready to take charge of his side with the Championship due to return. The manager was set to take charge of his side in a friendly against Manchester United before a last-minute confirmation that he had tested positive for the disease.
Paper Round’s view: It is a huge relief for O’Neill to have recovered from a disease which can have severe, lethal effects, and fortunately none of his playing staff appear to have been directly affected. It does show though how pernicious the virus is and it makes the rest of the season seem precarious given how easily it could derail more than one club at any time.
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has warned Callum Hudson-Odoi after his recent arrest during the coronavirus lockdown. The 19-year-old forward was arrested on suspicion of rape but no further action will be taken. Lampard said: “I will never be one to come down too harshly, albeit we have had conversations, myself and Callum.The big conversations with Callum now is to make sure he learns his lesson from what happened."
Paper Round’s view: Given the details of what actually happened are unclear it is hard to say whether Lampard should be so lenient on Hudson-Odoi. The player should now be under a great deal of pressure to change his behaviour in future so that nothing similar happens again.