Bellerin out, Lamptey in?
Arsenal are planning for the potential exit of right-back Hector Bellerin, who has been linked with a return to his former club Barcelona. The Mirror reveal that the Gunners believe they could lose Bellerin to the Catalan club, with manager Mikel Arteta having already persuaded the 25-year-old to stay in north London amid interest from Paris Saint-Germain last summer. The Premier League club are targeting Tariq Lamptey, who has impressed for Brighton, as a replacement if Bellerin were to depart. The England under-21 full-back has also attracted interest from Bayern Munich and Manchester City.
Paper Round's view: It would be difficult to see Bellerin staying at Arsenal next summer if he's already had to be convinced to stay by his manager. PSG would've been an interesting option, but a return to his boyhood club is another level. Additionally, the Gunners looked like they were going to be challenging for the top four this season and now that couldn't be further from the case. It's unlikely that Arsenal will even qualify for the Europa League next term, so Bellerin will be assessing his options. Lamptey looks like a top prospect, but Arsenal will have a tough time competing for his signature if clubs like Bayern Munich or Manchester City are sniffing around the youngster.
Decision time for Wijnaldum
Liverpool are waiting on a decision from Dutch midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum after the club offered him a new contract at the start of December. The 30-year-old has just six months left on his current deal and will be free to negotiate with foreign clubs from the start of January. The Guardian state that Wijnaldum has asked the Premier League champions for "more time" before making his decision and has confirmed that he will let Liverpool know his choice before talking to any other clubs.
Paper Round's view: It's decision time for Wijnaldum. Liverpool will be desperate for the Netherlands international to stay at Anfield as he is a key component of their midfield but if he doesn't want to, the Merseyside club will want to know as early as possible so that they can prepare for his summer departure. If Wijnaldum decides to leave, the club will want to start making their transfer plans ahead of the summer. Brighton midfielder Yves Bissouma and Lille's Renato Sanches have been linked as possible replacements in recent weeks.
Costa ‘set for sensational Premier League return’ – Euro Papers
Wolves want Real Madrid striker
Wolves are in the market for a centre-forward in the winter transfer window following Raul Jimenez's fractured skull injury against Arsenal in November. There is no expected return date for the Mexican striker and The Athletic report that the Premier League club are eyeing a loan move for Real Madrid forward Luka Jovic in January. The Serbian has only managed to score two goals in 32 appearances since his £55million arrival at the Bernabeu back in 2019. The Athletic state that Los Blancos would prefer a permanent move or an obligation-to-buy clause, while Wolves would only sanction a loan signing.
Paper Round's view: Wolves are struggling for goals this season. Nuno Espirito Santo's side have only scored 15 goals in 15 Premier League matches so far this campaign and losing Jimenez hasn't helped. The 18-year-old Fabio Silva has stepped up to deputise but he still seems quite raw and inexperienced. Signing a new striker in January is probably needed, but a move for Jovic seems unlikely. Real Madrid want a transfer fee and the Serbian won't come cheap as the Spanish champions look to recoup most of that £55million back. Realistically, Jovic's value has definitely fallen since last summer - but will Real Madrid allow him to just leave on loan? Probably not.
Messi's American dream
Lionel Messi has revealed his ambitions of wanting to play in the United States at some point in his career. The 33-year-old has been heavily linked with a move away from the Camp Nou this summer as his current contract rapidly approaches its expiration date next summer. However, Messi has now dismissed the rumours, stating he is "far from" a potential exit. The Argentine stated he would "like to play in the United States and experience life and the league there" before returning to Barcelona in a non-playing capacity.
Paper Round's view: Well... that might end any rumours of Messi moving to either Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain next summer. It seems like he genuinely might extend his stay at Barcelona beyond the current season, despite the whole transfer saga last summer. Further down the line, a move to the MLS would be very interesting. Every single club in the league (that can afford him) will be desperate to secure his signature. It would do wonders for the sport in America and it would definitely attract a worldwide audience. One to watch out for in the future...