Barcelona draw up striker shortlist: Erling Haaland, Mohamed Salah or Robert Lewandowski - Paper Round
Barcelona hope to sign one of Erling Haaland, Mohamed Salah or Robert Lewandowski, Fulham hope to sign Burnley's goalkeeper Nick Pope, Arsenal are keen on Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford and Real Madrid hope to raise funds to sign both Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland - assuming Barca don't buy him.
Erling Haaland of Borussia Dortmund celebrate after winning during the Bundesliga match between 1. FSV Mainz 05 and Borussia Dortmund at MEWA Arena on March 16, 2022 in Mainz, Germany
Spanish newspaper Marca reports on the transfer strategy at Barcelona as they consider a swoop for Erling Haaland. Given their struggling financial system they anticipate having to try to land cheaper alternatives, with Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah - both out of contract in 2023 - cheaper options.
Paper Round’s view: While Haaland has a 75 million euro release clause the hefty commission that both he and his agent could command might see the initial outlay close to double that figure. Salah and Lewandowski appear able to offer a couple of seasons longer at the highest level, but it is always a risk to gamble on players coming to the end of their careers.
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Fulham plan Pope swoop
Fulham hope to sign Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope in the summer, assuming they secure promotion to the Premier League. The Sun suggests that they would have to shell out £20 million for the England international, who will face a pay cut and damage to his England career if Burnley are relegated. Marco Silva is looking to settle his transfer strategy early.
Paper Round’s view: At 29, Pope would represent a player who could hold down a place in the first team for a good few years to come given the longevity of goalkeepers’ careers. If Fulham suffered relegation then there would also be no shortage of takers for Pope, who has proven his ability in the Premier League while gaining international experience.
The Mirror reports that Arsenal could move for Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford. The 24-year-old had a spat with his club’s fans recently and he is out of favour under Ralf Rangnick. Arsenal meanwhile need to sign a striker because they lost Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Barcelona, and will see Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette leave in the summer.
Paper Round’s view: Rashford is yet to make the central striker’s role his own after moving out to the wings, and this year he has seemed increasingly ineffective, with shoulder surgery doing little to improve his contributions. He threatened to become a brilliant player early in his career but is now stagnating. A move to an improving Arsenal could turn his career around.
The Daily Mail gives a breakdown on Real Madrid’s chances of being able to afford both Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe. Luka Jovic, Eden Hazard and Mariano Diaz are all unwanted in the Spanish capital, while Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Isco are all out of contract in the summer. Dani Ceballos and Jesus Vallejo could also be on their way to cut costs.
Paper Round’s view: Hazard needs regular game time to be sure of a starting place for Belgium in the Qatar World Cup this October so perhaps he will be more willing to entertain a departure, maybe just a loan, than if he had nothing else on the horizon. This summer is a chance for Real to clear the decks after amassing too many players who did not contribute.