Barcelona target Arsenal's Mikel Arteta as manager to replace Ronald Koeman - Paper Round
Barcelona have added Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta to their managerial shortlist, Manchester City question whether to offer Sergio Aguero a new contract, the story on Manchester United missing out on signing Erling Haaland in 2019 is revealed and West Ham United are outpriced in their pursuit of 'top target' Adam Armstrong from Blackburn Rovers. It's Monday's Paper Round...
Mikel Arteta manager of Arsenal FC during the UEFA Europa League round of 32 Leg 1 match between SL Benfica and Arsenal FC at Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy on 18 February 2021.
Barcelona presidential candidate Joan Laporta has identified Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta as a potential replacement for current Barca boss Ronald Koeman. Laporta is one of the favourites to win the presidential race and hold a second spell in charge of the Catalan club. His previous stint saw the 58-year-old hire Pep Guardiola as Barcelona manager and Laporta is looking to replicate the previous successes by bringing Arteta to the Camp Nou. The Arsenal boss has impressed Laporta due to his managerial style, philosophy and the fact that he once graduated from Barca's esteemed youth system La Masia.
Paper Round's view: This would be huge for Arteta. His journey at Arsenal has only just started but it would be tough to turn down the opportunity to manage Barcelona and work with Lionel Messi. It seems like Barca really want to bring back Guardiola, but his extension at Manchester City killed any hope of that. Club legend Xavi has also reportedly ruled himself out of a Camp Nou return, so Arteta is now being targeted. The 38-year-old coach is highly rated in the managerial world and worked under Guardiola for three seasons at Manchester City. He will be a great coach one day, but a move to Barcelona this summer might be too soon for him.
Sergio Aguero could be set to leave Manchester City this summer as his contract rapidly reaches its expiration date. The Mirror report that the club have "warned" the 32-year-old forward that "his legendary status will count for nothing" as the two parties attempt to negotiate his future at the Etihad stadium. Aguero made his first City start since October in the weekend's win against West Ham United, but has barely featured over the past year due to a combination of injury and Covid-19.
Paper Round's view: After 10 years, 256 goals and four (probably five soon) Premier League titles... Aguero's time at Manchester City might be coming to an end. Pep Guardiola can no longer rely on him due to his constant injuries and club officials know that a new contract won't come cheap. A new striker is needed at the Etihad stadium and in an ideal world, it would be Erling Haaland. Aguero has been a loyal servant for Man City, but his body his beginning to fail him after years of intense competition. He will be a great signing wherever he goes next, but Manchester City are entering a new era and will, unfortunately, need to leave the club's all-time top goalscorer behind.
Man Utd to pounce for £30m star bargain from Fiorentina - Euro Papers
How Man Utd missed out on Haaland in 2019
Manchester United missed out on the opportunity to sign in-demand striker Erling Haaland for just £3 million back in 2019 due to confusion over different time zones. The report states that the Red Devils had organised for a club representative to have a phone call with Haaland's agent at 9am to finalise a deal worth just £3 million. However, the forward's then-club Molde assumed the call was at 9am Norwegian time, while United eventually rang at 10am GMT. By then, Molde had already agreed a deal to sell Haaland to Red Bull Salzburg. Fellow Premier League club Everton also made the same error as Manchester United and missed out on an opportunity to sign the wonderkid.
Paper Round's view: What an absolute nightmare. It's a silly error but not one that a club like Manchester United should be making. The Premier League giants should be kicking themselves over that mistake. It's nearly on the same level as letting Paul Pogba leave for free to join Juventus, only to buy him back for a world-record transfer fee of £89 million just four years later. Every single big club in football is queuing up to sign Haaland this summer from Borussia Dortmund and it's being reported that the Bundesliga club will demand £150 million for the sought-after striker. United could've signed him for just £3 million if they organised a phone call properly. Let that sink in...
West Ham United have been handed a blow in their battle to sign Blackburn Rovers striker Adam Armstrong after the Championship club slapped a £25-million price tag on their forward. Hammers boss David Moyes is searching for a striker to be back-up to makeshift forward Michail Antonio and has identified the 24-year-old as a potential signing. Armstrong's current contract is set to expire in 2022, so Moyes thought West Ham would be able to sign him for as little as £10 million. However, the Mail reveal that Blackburn are demanding more than double the fee that the London club anticipated due to a sell-on clause that means 40 per cent of the profit would be owed to the striker's former club, Newcastle United.
Paper Round's view: West Ham do need to address their lack of natural centre-forward options, but it would be ridiculous to spend £25 million on a striker from a Championship club who has just 12 months remaining on his contract. Surely Blackburn can't risk losing Armstrong for free in 2022 so would be willing to lower their excessive demands. Obviously it's a nightmare that the Lancashire club will have to pay 40 per cent of the profit made on Armstrong's transfer to Newcastle but even if the 24-year-old is sold for a more realistic fee like £12 million, it would be a decent amount of income for a Championship club.