Manchester United expect exits before transfer deadline - Paper Round
Manchester United prepare to clear out the deadwood in their squad before the January transfer window deadline. Elsewhere, Manchester City defender Eric Garcia attempts to push through a move to Barcelona, Billy Gilmour looks likely to leave Chelsea on loan for the remainder of the season and Germany plan to poach England under-21 international Jamal Musiala. It's Thursday's Paper Round...
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield on January 17, 2021 in Liverpool, United Kingdom.
Manchester United are ready to allow some "fringe" players to leave before the January transfer window closes on Monday. The Independent report that a handful of squad members could depart Old Trafford this month, including Jesse Lingard, Brandon Williams, Facundo Pellistri, Marcos Rojo and Sergio Romero, while Odion Ighalo will return to Shanghai Shenhua when his loan deal expires on January 30. Lingard is edging closer to a loan move to West Ham, and Williams and Pellistri could also leave on a temporary basis. Rojo and Romero have both been told that their contracts will not be extended beyond this summer.
Paper Round's view: It's about time Manchester United start clearing out the deadwood at the club. Rojo and Romero are two players who should've been sold last summer, but probably ended up staying after the coronavirus pandemic limited the finances of clubs that would've been interested. Williams and Pellistri could do with getting more minutes elsewhere and building up their first-team experience. Lingard is an interesting one. He should be looking for a permanent move - but the club might be hoping that a loan could either boost his confidence and allow him to return to Old Trafford fighting for his place... or increase his value for when they plan to sell him in the summer.
Manchester City defender Eric Garcia has reportedly told Barcelona that he will "play for them for free" if it means he can join them in January, according to the Times. The 20-year-old's contract at Manchester City expires this summer, meaning that Barca can either sign Garcia for a cut-price fee this month or for free at the end of the season. The Catalan revealed that City are demanding a €3 million transfer fee for the centre-back, but Barcelona cannot afford the asking price due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Garcia - who graduated from Barca's youth academy - has told his former club that he would give up his wages for the rest of the season if he could return to the Camp Nou in January.
Paper Round's view: Have we ever seen a situation like this before? Garcia is so desperate to return to Barcelona, he is willing to play for free for the remainder of the season. Manchester City probably aren't too keen on playing him as they know he wants to leave the club (and the fact that they have John Stones, Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte and Nathan Ake) but the Premier League club don't need to let him leave for free. €3 million is a very low asking price, but it speaks volumes that Barca are unable to afford it. Maybe they could try selling a player or two in January to make up the cash. Or see if Manchester City are interested in any of their players in a swap deal...
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Gilmour to leave Chelsea on loan?
Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour is set to become "one of the most sought-after players" as the January transfer window reaches its expiry date. The Scottish under-21 international will reportedly be allowed to leave on loan for the rest of the season following the club's decision to sack Frank Lampard and he has a queue of Premier League and foreign clubs interested in taking him on. Gilmour is hoping to make a late push to be included in the Scotland squad ahead of this summer's European Championships, despite being uncapped by the senior side.
Paper Round's view: Lampard's sacking will have been tough for Gilmour. The 19-year-old made huge strides in his development under the English manager and was reportedly in line to start against Wolves in the Premier League on Wednesday, before former PSG boss Thomas Tuchel took charge of Chelsea. Gilmour needs to back himself by taking a leap of faith this month. If he moves to a club where he gets to play regularly, the youngster could be part of the Scotland squad at the Euros.
Germany and England are set to go head-to-head in the battle for 17-year-old midfielder Jamal Musiala. The Bayern Munich midfielder currently represents England's under-21s on the international stage, but has also played for Germany's youth side as recently as 2018. Musiala was born in Germany, but lived in England for nine years as a child, meaning he qualifies to represent both nations - as well as Nigeria through his heritage. The Times report that Joachim Low is prepared to call the teenager up to his senior squad in March, while England's plans are to keep him in the under-21 squad.
Paper Round's view: It's decision time for Musiala. The 17-year-old will be torn between two major parts of his identity as he attempts to make a huge, life-changing decision. It's a massive amount of pressure to put on a kid - the decision he makes now will form the rest of his career. Musiala has played the majority of his international football for England, but it becomes a tempting offer if Germany are willing to fast track him to the senior squad. You'd also imagine that his Bayern Munich team-mates are doing a lot of convincing. Only Musiala will know if he's made the right decision, but let's hope he doesn't live to regret it.