Barcelona target Sterling
The Sun reports that Spanish club Barcelona want to sign Raheem Sterling as they face the prospect of losing out on RB Leipzig’s Dani Olmo. The 23-year-old Spanish international is keen on a return to Barcelona, but with Manchester United, Juventus and Bayern Munich all interested then they may find it easier to take a run at Sterling, who is unsettled at the Etihad.
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Paper Round’s view: Sterling has been consistently linked with a move to the Spanish league, more often with Real than Barcelona, but he has the technique and pace that would be an upgrade on many of the players at the Nou Camp. If Olmo wants to move to Barcelona he could attempt to force through a move, but the club would still have to deal with their huge debt problem.
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United interest spurs Leeds talks with Phillips
Manchester United want to sign Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips, according to The Mirror. United want to bolster their midfield with the 25-year-old England international who has a contract that runs until 2024, but his current club are willing to double his wages to £100,000 in order to extends his stay at Elland Road and ward off interest from their traditional rivals.
Paper Round’s view: Phillips has shown excellent consistency Leeds so far in their time in the Premier League, but more than that, he has proven his ability to perform under pressure for England with Gareth Southgate. At 25 there is more to come, and United need to find an upgrade on Fred, and perhaps a cheap-ish replacement for Paul Pogba if he leaves for nothing this summer.
Mbappe plans Real talks
Spanish newspaper Marca reports that despite Kylian Mbappe’s photo alongside Lionel Messi and Neymar after the win over Manchester City, he still intends to leave the club in the summer. The 22-year-old French striker has a contract that runs out at the end of the season and he is thus intending to start talks with Real Madrid in January as he is entitled to do.
Paper Round’s view: Mbappe has his sights set on Real Madrid and that should see him team up with international teammate Karim Benzema, and it could even make Real the clear favourites for another La Liga title. At just 22 he could prove to be a bargain and be the Spanish club’s star striker for the best part of the next decade, despite a huge salary.
Benzema adds to rumours
French striker Karim Benzema has talked up the possibility of Paris Saint-Germain’s wantaway forward Kylian Mbappe moving to Real Madrid in the near future, adding credibility to the rumour that the 22-year-old forward will soon open talks. Benzema said, reports the Mail: “Someday he will play for Real Madrid. I don't know when. But it will come. It's just a matter of time.”
Paper Round’s view: Real Madrid have long used international teammates of their transfer targets to help unsettle players in order to force through a move. This is less necessary for Mbappe because PSG have little influence on a player who is running down a contract, but it may be a ploy from Real to make sure the player does not cave to pressure to sign a new deal.
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