Transfer news - Manchester City lead United in race for £100m-rated Jack Grealish - Paper Round
Manchester City move ahead of their rivals in the race for Jack Grealish, Sergio Aguero could move to a Premier League rival if he leaves the Etihad this summer, Tottenham Hotspur attempt to re-negotiate the asking price of Benfica's on-loan striker Carlos Vinicius and Gareth Southgate questions whether footballers should move up in the queue for the Covid-19 vaccine. It's Friday's Paper Round...
Jack Grealish of Aston Villa during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and West Ham United at Villa Park on February 3, 2021 in Birmingham, United Kingdom
Manchester City have moved ahead of their rivals in the race to sign Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish this summer, according to the Mail. The England international is valued at £100 million by the Midlands club and the Mail reveal that Man City will take advantage of the current economic climate to secure the signing. The coronavirus pandemic has depleted the finances of many top clubs, which has left Pep Guardiola's side as the "best placed" to sign Grealish ahead of local rivals Manchester United this summer.
Paper Round's view: It's incredible that Manchester United passed up the opportunity to sign Grealish last summer. Yes - there were some controversial moments off the field, but his quality on the pitch was never in question. Grealish responded in the most perfect way possible - he stepped up his game. The 25-year-old has been one of the best players in the Premier League this season and, although Aston Villa won't want to let him leave, the club will know they can demand a huge fee for their captain. His playing style would definitely suit Manchester City, and his home-grown status and versatility are added bonuses for the league leaders.
Sergio Aguero could be set for a shock move to one of Manchester City's Premier League rivals if he leaves the Etihad at the end of the season. The 32-year-old's contract is rapidly approaching its expiry date this summer and Pep Guardiola has admitted that the club is yet to start thinking about Aguero's future in Manchester. The Sun reveal that the Argentine - who has attracted attention from both Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona - would be open to staying in the Premier League at a rival club. Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is said to have been a known admirer of Aguero from his time at PSG.
Paper Round's view: Manchester City won't want to lose Aguero to a domestic rival. All the club have to do is look over to Spain to see the goals that Luis Suarez has brought to Liga leaders Atletico Madrid in the title race with his former club Barcelona. Suarez was written off by Barca, who let him to move to the Spanish capital, and the same could happen to Man City if they allow Aguero to join a rival upon his contract expiration. Chelsea will definitely be one of City's closest title challengers in the Premier League next season, so if Aguero doesn't receive a contract extension, the Manchester club will be praying he goes abroad.
Barcelona 'agree to sign' star wanted by Messi - Euro Papers
Spurs negotiate lower price for Carlos Vinicius
Tottenham Hotspur are attempting to re-negotiate the asking price of on-loan striker Carlos Vinicius after informing Benfica that they will refuse to meet the £36 million option-to-buy-clause that was inserted in the deal last summer. The Mail reveal that Spurs would be willing to pay £17 million for the 25-year-old and opened talks with the Portuguese club earlier this month. Vinicius has already informed his parent club of his wishes to stay at Spurs, with the Brazilian striker believing that he is set for an "increasingly important role in the near-future" at the north London club.
Paper Round's view: It's no surprise that Tottenham aren't willing to part with £36 million for Vinicius. The Brazilian forward has failed to make much of an impact during his loan spell in north London and that would most likely represent a huge chunk of Spurs' summer transfer budget. The club definitely need a striker who can be back-up to Harry Kane, and Vinicius has shown glimpses of quality in the Europa League and FA Cup, so £17 million wouldn't be an awful fee if Benfica accept. As for his belief of an "increasingly important role" coming up soon - does he know something about Kane's future that the rest of us don't?
England manager Gareth Southgate has questioned whether footballers should be moved up in the waiting list to receive the Covid-19 vaccination due to the risks that players encounter with the job. The Three Lions boss believes that the vulnerable, key workers and teachers are all of more concern than footballers, but the sporting stars are still at risk through travelling to play matches across the country and even across the continent or further. Southgate also admitted that the football industry could "save the NHS money by buying the vaccines and administering them".
Paper Round's view: It's always going to be a point of contention. People will complain if footballers receive the Covid vaccine before them - but Southgate does have a point. Footballers are being put at risk due to their jobs and plenty of them have battled the virus over the past year. This summer will see footballers travel across the world for major international tournaments, and that could get messy. Ideally the players are able to get vaccinated before this.