Paul Pogba's Manchester United turnaround may result in new contract - Paper Round
Manchester United believe Paul Pogba could sign a new contract at the club. Meanwhile, Liverpool are given a boost over Mohamed Salah's future on Merseyside, Leicester City are put off a Christian Eriksen loan move due to Inter Milan's excessive wage demands and the discussion of a European Super League returns. It's Friday's Paper Round...
Paul Pogba of Manchester United looks on prior to the Premier League match between Manchester United and Aston Villa at Old Trafford on January 01, 2021 in Manchester, England.
Paul Pogba could be set to complete a shocking U-turn at Manchester United following his recent run of form. The World Cup winner's agent Mino Raiola recently publicly declared Pogba's desire to leave Old Trafford at the end of the season, but the Mirror report that Manchester United chiefs are now confident that the midfielder will stay beyond the current campaign. Pogba's contract expires in 2022 and the club believe that he may even sign an extension. A return to Juventus has been rumoured, while Paris Saint-Germain is said to be the only other viable option due to Real Madrid and Barcelona's financial struggles.
Paper Round's view: Who would've thought that we would be in this situation when Raiola announced Pogba's intentions to leave Manchester United last month? You have to give credit to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his management of the Frenchman. Pogba looks more inspired than he has ever been before at Old Trafford and it's perfect timing. The Red Devils are sitting on the top of the Premier League table and the 27-year-old has scored the winning goal in two of their last three matches. It will be interesting to see if Pogba actually signs a new contract before the end of the season because if not, United might be forced to sell him in order to avoid losing him for free the following summer.
Liverpool have been handed a boost over the future of Mohamed Salah after the Telegraph revealed that a transfer to Spain is likely to be out of reach for both Barcelona and Real Madrid. The 28-year-old refused to rule out a move to either club in an interview with Diario AS before the festive period, but the Telegraph report that the cash-strapped duo are unable to afford a player of Salah's quality in the current market - especially following the financial impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
Paper Round's view: Salah is 28 years old now, meaning he most likely has just one big contract left in his career. It's unfortunate that any potential dream of a move to two of the biggest clubs in world football, Real Madrid and Barcelona, could be over as the clubs are suffering financially. Where else can Salah go? The report states that Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City would be able to afford the Egyptian forward but both those moves seem unlikely. It's a boost for Liverpool, who will hope that Salah will stay and lead them to more trophies for years to come.
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Leicester put off by Eriksen's excessive wages
Leicester City made an enquiry for Inter Milan midfielder Christian Eriksen, but were immediately put off by the Serie A side's excessive wage demands. Inter have made the 28-year-old available to leave the club this month, less than a year since his arrival from Tottenham Hotspur. Leicester approached the Italians about the possibility of taking Eriksen on loan for the remainder of the season, but "baulked" at the Denmark international's £300,000-per-week wages - which Inter asked the Premier League club to pay in full. Eriksen has also been linked with a return to north London and a reunion with former Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino at Paris Saint-Germain during the winter transfer window.
Paper Round's view: There's no doubting that Eriksen is a talented footballer, but he has had an absolute nightmare this past year. The Danish playmaker was linked with the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona before joining Inter, where he has failed to make an impact. Antonio Conte clearly doesn't want him at the club anymore, but his £300,000-a-week contract is proving a huge stumbling block for Eriksen's potential exit. It's a similar situation to Arsenal with Mesut Ozil or Real Madrid with Gareth Bale. Clubs sign players to huge contracts then almost immediately regret their decision. Eriksen might find himself stuck at Inter now - unless the Italians are willing to accept a loan offer with a lower wage contribution.
The discussions around a European Super League have reopened, with the Times reporting that founding members would be offered a fee of up to €350 million to join the elite competition. Authorities in football now view the potential of European Super League as a "significant threat" as 15 founding clubs are being assessed to take part in the competition that would replace the UEFA Champions League. FIFA and UEFA were quick to react to the news and issued a statement warning players that they would be "blacklisted and banned" from tournaments like the World Cup and European Championships should they take part in a European Super League.
Paper Round's view: It's becoming a worry that the European Super League could actually happen. Real Madrid president Florentino Perez and Juventus' Andrea Agnelli have reportedly been "driving forces" behind the proposal and Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge even admitted the Champions League group stages had become "a bit boring". But does that mean there should a European Super League? No. It would just help the rich clubs get richer and widen the gap. It's a sad situation to envisage in a year that is seeing some gripping title races across Europe.