United move for Varane
Manchester United are aiming to sign Raphael Varane from Real Madrid this summer. The 27-year-old French international central defender is out of contract in 18 months, meaning he could leave for nothing. The Telegraph reports that while Sergio Ramos could also leave on a free transfer at the end of this season, Varane is considered the most likely to leave the club.
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Paper Round’s view: At 27, Varane has probably got around five years left at the top of his game before his body starts to struggle with the demands of professional football. His experience in top-flight football means that United would be unlikely to be the only contenders for his signature, especially if Real are willing to compromise on a fee in the summer.
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Laporta: Messi will leave if I don’t win
Barcelona presidential candidate Joan Laporta has said that he believes that striker Lionel Messi will leave if anyone else but him wins the elections this March, reports Marca. The 33-year-old Argentine can leave for nothing in the summer and Laporta said: "He's not guided just by money. He wants a competitive team to win. "I'm sure he'll listen to my offer, just as I am [sure] that if someone else wins he will leave."
Paper Round’s view: The stories around Messi suggest that he is far from certain to leave the club, and given the impact of the coronavirus there are probably only a couple of clubs who would be able to stump up his wages, considering his advanced years. Laporta is doubtless overegging his case but it is an emotive case to make in order to win votes from the electorate.
Bale expects Real to honour deal
Tottenham Hotspur winger Gareth Bale is going to drive a hard bargain with his parent club Real Madrid, according to the Mirror. The 31-year-old forward is on £600,000 a week and the sum is split between Spurs and Real while he is on loan in the Premier League. He could though return to Real for the final year of his contract if they do not make sure to compensate him if they want him to move on.
Paper Round’s view: Some fans are understandably puzzled by Bale’s insistence to get his money’s worth instead of making sure he makes the most of the rest of his playing career, but he is entitled to the money that Real promised him, and from his point of view he fulfilled the obligations that he agreed to. Perhaps Real will be more circumspect in future when they dish out huge contracts, but it seems unlikely.
Everton keen to make King switch permanent
Everton are ready to keep Joshua King at Goodison Park despite his limited appearances so far for the club. The Daily Mail suggests that the Bournemouth player will be available for nothing at the end of the season and he is rated at his new club as a player who shares many of the same qualities as first-choice striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin. The 29-year-old Norwegian has just made five sub appearances in the league so far.
Paper Round’s view: By signing King until the end of the season, Everton have given him the chance to settle in and if he fits in well with his new club, then it shouldn’t be too expensive to bring him in on a permanent deal. He has only just turned 29 so has a few years left where he should be able to contribute, and won’t disrupt the development of Calvert-Lewin over the long term.
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