Sergio Ramos set for Real Madrid exit after relationship breakdown with Florentino Perez - Paper Round
Sergio Ramos will depart Real Madrid upon the expiration of his contract after 16 years at the Santiago Bernabeu. Elsewhere, Manchester City may sell some star names this summer, with both Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling allow to leave the Premier League champions, and a handful of English club battle over Lille hero and Ligue 1 winner Zeki Celik. It's Thursday's Paper Round...
Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid CF Salutes to Florentino Perez President of Real Madrid CF to celebrates winning the Spanish league after the game during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Villarreal CF at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano on July 16, 2020
Sergio Ramos will leave Real Madrid this summer after spending 16 successful seasons at the Santiago Bernabeu, according to the Mirror. The 35-year-old's current contract is rapidly reaching its expiry date and a breakdown in the relationship between Ramos and Los Blancos' infamous club president Florentino Perez means that he will not extend his stay in the Spanish capital. Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain have both been linked with a move for the Real captain, but Manchester City could pip the pair to the free signing by offering a lucrative two-year contract to Ramos.
Paper Round's view: It's a real shame that Ramos never got the chance to say farewell to the Real Madrid faithful. In fact, he will be leaving on a low. Los Blancos ended the season trophy-less for the first time in more than a decade, which saw head coach Zinedine Zidane depart the club. Ramos' exit seems like part of the planned Real Madrid rebuild. Karim Benzema and Luka Modric are still key members of the old guard, but they will miss Ramos. It's probably a fair time to say goodbye though, and David Alaba is a brilliant replacement. Looking at Ramos' options for his next club, PSG would be a good fit.
Manchester City could continue their squad rebuild by allowing Bernardo Silva to leave this summer. The Portuguese playmaker has spent four trophy-laden years in Manchester and would be allowed to move if he were to look for a new challenge elsewhere. The Telegraph report that Silva has become a "shock target for European clubs" after attracting the attention of Barcelona in previous seasons. Clubs in Spain, France and Italy that have qualified for the Champions League believe they have a chance of signing Silva this summer.
Paper Round's view: It's fair (if slightly harsh) to say that Silva has failed to reach the heights of his sparkling performances in the 2018-19 season. However, he's still just 26 years old and is very important to Manchester City. Silva's versatility and creativity offers an extra dimension for Pep Guardiola's side and it could be argued that he sometimes goes under the radar at the Etihad Stadium. Should Manchester City consider selling him? It depends on who they are planning to replace him with. If it is Jack Grealish... then maybe there's a conversation to be had.
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Where could Sterling end up?
Sticking with Manchester City, the Mail report that Raheem Sterling has been put up for sale by Pep Guardiola. The England international's place in the City line-up has been under threat at times throughout the 2020-21 season and it seemed like Sterling fell out of favour towards the end of the campaign. The Mail reveal that Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid are interested in the possibility of signing Sterling this summer. The 26-year-old could be used as part of a package deal to send Spurs striker Harry Kane to Manchester City.
Paper Round's view: This was a year like no other. The season was truncated due to the coronavirus pandemic and players didn't receive a proper pre-season break back in the summer of 2020. Sterling still bagged 14 goals in all competitions, but even he would admit that he underperformed. Despite this, people are forgetting that Sterling can put in world-class performances on his day. The Manchester City forward has been consistently performing at the highest level for three or four seasons and now after one underwhelming (and complicated) campaign he's linked to Arsenal and Tottenham? It just doesn't make sense.
Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Inter Milan are all entering the race to sign Lille right-back Zeki Celik, according to the Standard. The Turkish defender was a key component of Lille's Ligue 1 title-winning side in the 2020-21 season, but is expected to depart the French champions this summer. Lille will demand £13 million for Celik and the Premier League trio are said to lead the race for the 24-year-old. Arsenal are planning to replace Hector Bellerin, who is linked with a move to Spanish side Real Betis, and have lined up Celik and Norwich City's Max Aarons as potential options.
Paper Round's view: Lille are being picked apart, just weeks after their fairytale Ligue 1 victory. Goalkeeper Mike Maignan has already left for AC Milan, while Sven Botman, Renato Sanches, Boubakary Soumare and Celik are all linked with summer exits. It looks like Celik is likely to head to the Premier League and Arsenal may be the ideal destination if he is looking for first-team football. Spurs could also be a decent option if they were to offload Serge Aurier. If Celik performs well with Turkey at the European Championships this summer, he could attract even more suitors.