Haaland may snub Real
The Sun reports that Erling Haaland may elect to join Manchester United, or any other club except Real Madrid, if Kylian Mbappe joins them from Paris Saint-Germain. The Norwegian striker does not want to share top billing with the French international striker, meaning other clubs could then steal in to sign the Borussia Dortmund player at the end of the season.
Antony, Martinez, Timber and De Jong form Ten Hag shortlist at Man Utd - Paper Round
Paper Round’s view: Haaland does seem fairly sure of his own ability, and hardly seems shy when it comes to dealing with the cameras. However on the pitch he rarely seems to have problems working for his team, so the idea that he would not want to be with the very best teammates available appears to be a bit of a reach on the surface, at least.
Rose happy Haaland and Bellingham will rest during international break
PSG still aiming to keep Mbappe
Despite Haaland’s worries that Mbappe will join Real Madrid, the Mail suggests that Paris Saint-Germain have not given up hopes of retaining the player and want him to sign a new deal. Director Leonardo said: “Nothing has changed in our plans. Kylian is a jewel, he is incredibly perfect for PSG... then we've Kylian, Leo [Messi], Ney. We've never planned PSG's future without Mbappé.”
Paper Round’s view: Recent comments from Mbappe’s mother have suggested that talks with the club and player are far from dead, and it could be that they are able to persuade him to stay on for a year or two longer in order to secure a proper tilt at the Champions League, and let him properly experience the chance to play alongside Lionel Messi, probably the best of all time.
Bruce to be sacked
The Mirror reports that Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce will be sacked by the club’s new Saudi Arabian owners next week. Graeme Jones will take over as caretaker but there is no imminent replacement for the long term lined up, with no suggestions that any of Zinedine Zidane, Rafael Benitez, Roberto Mancini or Antonio Conte want to take the gig.
Paper Round’s view: Clearly there is something to appeal to a manager if he is offered the chance to work for a club backed by hundreds of billions of pounds. However there are reasons to be reluctant, not least that Saudi Arabia is responsible for chopping up a journalist, and has a history of human rights abuses across the world. Whether that can be overcome is yet to be seen.
Xavi willing to listen to Barcelona offers
Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi has suggested that he will finally entertain offers to take over the Spanish side. Marca reports that the Catalan said that: “Any offer will be evaluated and then a decision will be made," which is more positive than he has been previously, when he appeared fully committed to remaining in Qatar with current club Al Sadd.
Paper Round’s view: After a few years lining his pockets and probably learning relatively little as manager in Qatar, perhaps Xavi now wants to test his skills properly. It is hard to imagine he would do worse than Ronald Koeman, but the mess at Barcelona does not appear to be close to fixed, so the job could still be something of a career-ending hospital pass for whomever comes next.
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