United ready for De Jong swoop
Manchester United have received a boost in their pursuit of midfielder Frenkie De Jong. The 25-year-old Dutch international has been given Xavi Hernandez’s blessing to leave the club in the summer, with £65 million expected to be enough for Erik ten Hag to be reunited with his former Ajax player at Old Trafford. Barcelona could replace him with free transfer Franck Kessie.
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Paper Round’s view: If Barcelona can get that transfer fee from United and replace De Jong with Kessie, then they will have done some decent business, especially as their current midfielder has not quite hit the heights that many had been expecting. As for United, they definitely need midfielders with Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Juan Mata all on their way.
United consider Richarlison and Nunez
Manchester United are lining up moves for Benfica’s Darwin Nunez and Everton striker Richarlison. The Sun reports that the 22-year-old Uruguayan international would cost around £65m, and he is also wanted by Paris Saint-Germain. If they can’t land him, then the 25-year-old Brazilian forward at Everton would be an option - though Erik ten Hag needs to give his blessing for either of them.
Paper Round’s view: United appear to have actually learned a lesson, which is that you don’t sign a player before consulting with their manager. In the past, they have delivered whoever they wanted and hoped the coach would be grateful, and over the years that has left good players - like Donny van der Beek - just left on the sidelines as he was not in the manager’s plan.
Arsenal lead chase for Jesus
Gabriel Jesus is a target for top European teams as Erling Haaland’s arrival at Manchester City means he will struggle for first team football. However, the Daily Mail reports that the Brazilian wants to remain in the England team, which favours Arsenal. The London side want the 25-year-old forward, who is valued at around £40-50m, with Mikel Arteta needing a new striker.
Paper Round’s view: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is already gone after his move to Barcelona, but Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette will not sign new contracts to stay beyond the summer. While Jesus is not an exceptional player, he is an experienced Premier League goal scorer, and at just 25, there are a few years left for him to improve his quality.
Real consider another striker
Real Madrid had hoped to sign both Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe, according to Spanish newspaper Marca. Haaland has now agreed to switch to Manchester City, meaning the club are now looking for someone to develop alongside Karim Benzema and his French international team-mate. One option is Youssoufa Moukoko of Borussia Dortmund, and another is Palmeiras’ 15-year-old Endrick.
Paper Round’s view: Moukoko is 17 now and has a little more experience that Endrick, and expecting the Brazilian striker to be useful next season would be a foolhardy gamble. The club already have Vinicius Junior as well as Rodrygo, so while there is non rush on identifying a player who could make 20 appearances next season, going too young is just not practical.
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