KDB wants Jack
Pep Guardiola wants Jack Grealish at Manchester City as part of his rebuild, the Independent reports. Guardiola signed a new two-year contract extension at City last week, but with the club currently struggling in the Premier League the head coach is looking at where they can strengthen in the summer. Aston Villa captain Grealish has shone so far this season, and City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne is also said to have been impressed with the player when they went head to head during the international break in England’s defeat to Belgium.
Paper Round’s view: Following on from Manchester United’s reported interest the past 12 months or so, this is a move which would make more sense for Grealish as he would be playing under a coach who can unlock his full potential. Villa would be devastated to see him go, but the 25-year-old has the quality to shine in the Champions League and even become a City regular in an area packed with talent. What price Villa put on Grealish come the summer remains to be seen – at this rate don’t be surprised to see £100m mentioned if £80m was the reported asking price a few months ago.
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4,000 fans! (For two Premier League clubs…)
News of sports welcoming back supporters to stadiums across England from next week made the majority of back pages on Tuesday, and that has left many getting a map out to work how many fans can attend Premier League matches once the lockdown lifts and the nation returns to a tiered system amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Mirror notes that only Brighton and Southampton currently fall under the Tier 1 restrictions that would allow 4,000 fans back for games, while Tier 2 would cover London clubs and Newcastle United as it stands, meaning 2,000 supporters. Clubs in the north west, Midlands and Yorkshire will remain behind closed doors unless certain areas move down from Tier 3.
Paper Round’s view: The announcement led to much elation, but plenty of questions too. Just how will clubs decide which supporters get tickets? What about fans travelling from an area in a different tier? And could this lead to an imbalance in results? Gary Neville was one such pundit voicing his concern on Monday.
No shouting, singing or alcohol?
Certain questions will soon be answered, and the Mail are reporting that singing, shouting and drinking alcohol will likely be banned when supporters return to stadiums in the Premier League. The conduct code for attending a match will be “in plain and concise language”, says the Mail, with supporters asked to sign up to the rules when purchasing a ticket.
Paper Round’s view: No alcohol? Relatively easy, just don’t sell it at the kiosks. But no singing or shouting? Good luck with that. When that first goal goes in, you won’t be getting silent fist pumps. That will be very hard to control.
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Concussion subs in FA Cup?
The FA Cup third round could trial concussion substitutes, the Mirror reports. The FA are willing to explore the idea of adding an extra permanent substitute in matches amid growing pressure on the sport to deal with head injuries correctly following an upturn in concern over dementia. The move could be sanctioned at an IFAB meeting next month.
Paper Round’s view: A sensible move in the right direction regarding such injuries, but you have to wonder who will administer the final call on whether a player needs to come off or not. An independent doctor? You can’t help but fear a player, or their manager, may not want to adhere to such rules if a match is finely poised, with club medics potentially swayed as well. But in the main that would be a very rare circumstance given the few occasions this issue arises.