Ronald Koeman is ready for Lionel Messi to leave, Manchester United consider Max Allegri, Virgil van Dijk could miss the rest of the season and Luka Jovic is not wanted at Real Madrid.
Koeman prepared for Messi exit
The Mirror reports that Ronald Koeman expects that Lionel Messi will leave Barcelona at the end of the season to join Manchester City. Speaking to the press, he hinted that Messi will only see out this season: “I was always hoping Messi would stay for this season. If he had left in the summer, I would have had a very different situation at Barca. He wanted to leave but the club was very clear to him. The buyout clause was so high, that not a single club in the world was going to pay that in these times.”
Paper Round’s view: The transfer fee that would have been needed to sign Messi would have been prohibitively expensive for any club in the world, even without Financial Fair Play. Koeman has a huge job but perhaps Barcelona will be better for it. Messi is now 33 and the board is about to be voted out - it will be a chance to rebuild from the top down.
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United consider Allegri
The Sun states that Mauricio Pochettino is Manchester United’s number one contender to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The Norwegian has had a dreadful start with United at the start of this season, and with some tough fixtures to come Pochettino is top of the shortlist as a potential replacement. However, Max Allegri is a backup option should they fail to convince the Argentine.
Paper Round’s view: Allegri did well with Juventus, but both Antonio Conte and Maurizio Sarri won the league with them too. It is no indicator of real managerial quality. Pochettino transformed Spurs, but it’s worth remembering that he was unable to actually win anything with the side, and in Ed Woodward there may be an even worse boss than Daniel Levy in terms of the transfer market.
Van Dijk could be out for season
Liverpool are concerned that Virgil van Dijk is set for a lengthy period on the sidelines. The Liverpool central defender was on the receiving end of a brutal slide tackle from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford on Saturday afternoon, and there are rumours that an anterior cruciate ligament injury could rule him out for the rest of the season. Jurgen Klopp was not prepared to comment beyond acknowledging it was serious, while the club will not comment either.
Paper Round’s view: With Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, Liverpool do have an excellent pairing to play at the back if they need to weather the storm without Van Dijk for a couple of months or so. But Van Dijk is the best defender in the league and if Manchester City, Everton or Spurs can summon up some form then it will be interesting to see if they can handle the pressure after so long at the top.
Jovic free to leave Real
Spanish newspaper Marca reports that this summer, Real Madrid striker Luka Jovic was told that he would not feature regularly for the side and he was free to find a new club to spend the season on loan at. Mariano Diaz refused all offers to leave, but Jovic was unable to find a suitable destination in the search for regular minutes. Real ultimately want to bring Kylian Mbappe or Erling Haaland to the club.
Paper Round’s view: Jovic failed to make his mark in Spain last season but he is still young, just 22 years old, and he needs to get some action in order to continue his development. If Real get into some good form and have an easy time of it in the Champions League, then he might be able to fill in when Zinedine Zidane elects to give Karim Benzema the chance of some rest.