Phillips to reject United
The Daily Mail reports that Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips will reject any offer to join Manchester United, despite speculation that Erik ten Hag wants the 26-year-old midfielder to be part of his rebuild at the club for next season. Aston Villa and Newcastle United are also keen, and a £60 million bid could be enough if he does not sign a new contract, with his current deal having two years left.
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Paper Round’s view: Phillips is a consistently impressive player in the Premier League and at 26 he does not have long left before he needs to force a move to a bigger side or his career could start to lose momentum. If Aston Villa and Newcastle are offering him a minimal step up then he could use the increased prominence to move on to a truly massive club in a couple of years.
Lampard will not leave Everton
Current Everton manager Frank Lampard has said that he is ‘very committed’ to the Premier League strugglers despite the possibility that they could start next season in the Championship. The Telegraph reports that the former Chelsea manager is keen to stay with the club that he only joined in January after he was appointed to replace manager Rafael Benitez.
Paper Round’s view: The blame with the club’s struggles lies with the owners, who have managed to mismanage hundreds of millions of pounds of investment as well as misguided attempts to find the right manager. Appointing Benitez was desperately uninspired and they paid the price for that, but they have been pushing their luck since the struggles of Ronald Koeman.
Southampton face Ward-Prowse battle
The Sun reports that Tottenham and Newcastle have their eye on James Ward-Prowse, Southampton’s midfielder. The 27-year-old could be called up to the England international squad for the Qatar 2022 World Cup at the end of the year, and that has prompted more interest in the player. While Ward-Prowse wants a top six club, he has a contract that runs for four more years.
Paper Round’s view: With four more years left on his current deal, it gives Southampton plenty of power when it comes to negotiating any transfer - they are not in any danger of losing him on a free transfer in the next couple of years. Ward-Prowse appears content on the south coast but he has the technique that deserves to be on a bigger stage, so he may move on now.
Tuanzebe set for United return
Manchester United defender Axel Tuanzebe is set to return for one last shot at an Old Trafford career, according to The Mirror. The 24-year-old central defender has struggled with injury in his loan spell at Napoli, playing only twice, and he is expected to return to the Premier League in the summer. He has one year left on his current deal and will hope Erik ten Hag can be impressed.
Paper Round’s view: Tuanzebe is certainly no worse than Phil Jones and it’s worth wondering if he is really a worse player right now than Harry Maguire, Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof. If he has one year left to show his worth then he might turn down the chance to go out on loan for one more season, viewing it is a last throw of the dice to stay at Old Trafford.
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