Contract rebel Van de Beek set for summer move
Ajax midfielder Donny Van de Beek is set to reject a new contract at the Eredivisie club as he looks to complete a summer transfer away from the Dutch capital, according to the Telegraph. The 22-year-old was strongly linked with a transfer to Real Madrid following Ajax's thrilling run to the Champions League semi-finals last season, but he eventually decided to stay in the Netherlands. Van de Beek is still wanted by the Spanish club, who view him as a long-term replacement for 34-year-old Luka Modric. Manchester United are also interested but it is reported that the Madrid side are in pole position to land Van de Beek, with the Mirror reporting the Dutchman has agreed a £47 million move to Real Madrid.
Paper Round's view: It was surprising to see Van de Beek stay at Ajax last summer. The Netherlands international enjoyed a successful season for the Eredivisie side and his name was being touted across Europe's elite clubs but Ajax managed to keep a handful of their highly-rated stars and manager Erik ten Hag. However, it's tough to say 'no' twice so it's fully expected that most of Ajax's Class of '19 will move on this summer. Real Madrid and Manchester United will battle over Van de Beek but it shouldn't be a tough decision for the 22-year-old. Real Madrid are still one of the best sides in the world, whereas United are... not.
Inter's Premier League raid continues
Inter Milan are looking to follow up a January transfer with Tottenham Hotspur's Christian Eriksen with moves for two more Premier League stars, according to the Mirror. The Serie A side are hoping to complete a deal for the Danish playmaker, who only has six months left of his current contract, after offering Eriksen a reported £160,000 a week, but Spurs are still holding out for a £20 million transfer fee. The Mirror added that Inter are also looking to add Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud and Manchester United wing-back Ashley Young to their squad in the winter window as they continue their title challenge with Juventus.
Paper Round's view: Christian Eriksen to Inter Milan is a deal that keeps dragging on. But as we know, all transfers involving Spurs chairman Daniel Levy tend to do so. Inter boss Antonio Conte seems desperate to reunite with Chelsea striker Giroud, but it doesn't seem like the best option for the French forward. The strike partnership of Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez is currently untouchable so Giroud will just be trading the bench at Stamford Bridge for the bench at San Siro. Young could be an interesting signing. The 34-year-old is a top professional and could be a useful outlet for Conte at wing-back on either side of the pitch.
North London rivals battle to sign defender
Bitter Premier League rivals Arsenal and Tottenham are set to battle over the signature of Getafe centre-back Djene Dakonam. According to the Sun, the Togo international is valued at around £22 million and the Spanish club have reportedly already rejected a bid worth £12.8 million from French side AS Monaco. Arsenal and Tottenham are both looking to cure their defensive crisis with the signing of Dakonam. Everton, Bournemouth and Crystal Palace are also said to be interested in signing the 28-year-old.
Paper Round's view: Arsenal and Tottenham both seem to be leaking goals. The pair have both conceded 31 goals each in 22 Premier League matches this season. It was expected that defenders would be at the top of their January transfer lists, but Arsenal are the club who are in more desperate need of a centre-half. Spurs are lacking a defensive midfielder and full-backs, but are blessed with Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen and Davinson Sanchez in the middle. Arsenal's central defence is a shambles, so it wouldn't hurt to sign up the centre-back who has featured in the past two Liga Team of the Years alongside Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique, respectively.
Moyes to launch loan bid for Barkley reunion
Recently-appointed West Ham manager David Moyes is eyeing up an ambitious loan bid to bring Ross Barkley to the London Stadium in January, according to the Mirror. The former Toffees manager is looking to reunite with the 26-year-old who has been out of favour at Chelsea this season. The Blues are reluctant to let Barkley leave on loan, insisting that the England international is still "an important part of their first-team plans". West Ham are also interested in AC Milan midfielder Frank Kessie.
Paper Round's view: It's a move that would benefit West Ham and could definitely benefit Barkley too. Obviously Chelsea won't want to let him leave on loan, but Barkley isn't featuring for the Blues on a regular basis. The 26-year-old hasn't really found his feet since moving to Stamford Bridge, so a loan spell elsewhere could help him rediscover his form. Barkley is an England regular and clearly a favourite of Gareth Southgate, but at this rate he will struggle to make the Three Lions' Euro 2020 squad. Players who play the same role as Barkley like James Maddison, Mason Mount and Jack Grealish are thriving in the Premier League this season. A move to east London would see him playing more consistently and would certainly increase his chances of being part of the England squad.