Revealed: The 10 clubs chasing Haaland
The battle for Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland is on as the 10 clubs that are in the hunt for the 20-year-old are revealed by the Mail. The report stems from super agent Mino Raiola's statement that "only a maximum of 10 clubs can afford to buy" his client, Haaland. The Mail reveal the following clubs are on that list: Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Inter Milan. Haaland has a €100 million release clause in his contract, which becomes active in 2022. However, Dortmund could be willing to part with the Norwegian striker this summer - but only for a club-record transfer fee, which would surpass the £135 million that Barca paid for Ousmane Dembele in 2017.
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Paper Round's view: Haaland is one of the most exciting prospects in the game. There is a real lack of top strikers and one of the best number nines in football is just 20 years old. You can tell how fierce the competition will be to sign him because the clubs aren't even willing to risk waiting until his cheaper release clause becomes active next summer. Clubs are looking for any possible advantage in the race for his signature and that includes making their move one year early and potentially paying an extra £50 million in transfer fees. Where will he end up? We'd guess not even he knows at this moment in time.
Man Utd's big decision
The chase for Erling Haaland directly affects Manchester United and the way they approach this summer's transfer window. The Independent take a closer look at the comments made by Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer about how he stays in contact with compatriot and "former protégé" Haaland, who he managed at Molde. United are lacking a "long-term, established centre-forward option" and the 20-year-old would be a perfect signing. Edinson Cavani is expected to extend his contract, but he is 34 years old and Mason Greenwood is still raw and untested on a consistent basis. However, there are now question marks over Anthony Martial's future at Old Trafford.
Paper Round's view: There's no doubting that Haaland would be the ideal striker for this Manchester United team. Solskjaer's side are lacking a focal point and a signing like Haaland could elevate them to become serious Premier League title contenders. The club clearly hold an advantage by having the Norwegian striker's former mentor in charge at Old Trafford - but they will face tough competition in the transfer race. Obviously this would be bad news for a player like Martial. The Frenchman has struggled for consistency and has failed to meet the level of expectations since joining United in 2015. Maybe he would be better off with a fresh start elsewhere as it looks like he is out of place at the moment.
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King Carlo keen to stay on Merseyside
Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti is keen to extend his stay on Merseyside and take the club forward to its planned new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock. The 61-year-old's current contract runs until the summer of 2024 and the Toffees' new 52,888-capacity ground could be ready in the same year. However, Ancelotti has revealed that he wishes to "stay as long as possible" at the club he joined in 2019. The Italian stated that he wanted to be at Everton when the new stadium opens and hinted at signing a new contract with the club.
Paper Round's view: Ancelotti has revolutionised Everton. There were question marks over his quality before he arrived after tough spells with Bayern Munich and Napoli, but the Italian is a proven winner. The man is a three-time Champions League winner as a manager. His stature has pulled the likes of James Rodriguez and Allan to the blue half of Merseyside and his coaching has made Dominic Calvert-Lewin one of the most prolific strikers in the Premier League. Everton will be delighted that he wants to extend his stay at the club and take them to their new stadium.
The Premier League's plan to welcome fans back
The Premier League have started to plan for the return of supporters in stadiums as the United Kingdom begins to ease its Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. The UK government announced earlier this week that up to 10,000 fans would be allowed to return to stadiums from May 17, which would be just in time for the final gameweek of the season. However, the Premier League is planning to push back the penultimate round of games to become midweek fixtures after May 17 to allow home spectators to attend both rounds. This would be to ensure that the "sporting integrity" of the league is upheld, allowing all 20 clubs to have home fans attend one match each before the end of the season.
Paper Round's view: That's one way to stop clubs from moaning that their rivals have an unfair advantage over them. The example is that Fulham v Newcastle on the final day of the season is set to have home fans at Craven Cottage, so allowing the 37th round of fixtures also to have a home support would mean the Magpies would be able to welcome fans for their match against Sheffield United. It's an easy way to appease all the Premier League's clubs, while allowing a small section of supporters from each club to attend one more match before the end of the season.
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