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Dortmund enter Mandzukic race, United handed transfer boost – Paper Round

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Mario Mandzukic

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ByMichael Hincks
18/11/2019 at 23:27 | Updated 19/11/2019 at 12:24
@MichaelHincks

Bruno Fernandes, Mario Mandzukic, Pep Guardiola, Leroy Sane and Emre Can feature in Tuesday’s Paper Round.

Man Utd boost on Fernandes

Manchester United’s hopes of signing Bruno Fernandes have been boosted by the fact Sporting Lisbon need to clear £57m in debt, The Sun reports. Fernandes was a target for both United and Tottenham in the summer, and the Portugal midfielder – who scored a spectacular goal against Luxembourg on Sunday – could move to Old Trafford in a £65m deal this January.

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Paper Round’s view: It’s looking as though it could be a straight battle between United and Spurs to sign the goalscoring midfielder, but you would imagine United have the financial edge. Both sides, however, face a battle to reach the Champions League places in the Premier League – maybe Fernandes will wait until the summer before choosing his next move.

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More competition for United

United have also been heavily linked with Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic, and the Daily Mail reports they will face competition from Borussia Dortmund in January. The Croatian has not appeared for the Italian champions so far this season, and Dortmund could look to swoop in as they look to bounce back from their slow start in the Bundesliga. Dortmund are sixth after 11 games, six points behind leaders Monchengladbach.

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Paper Round’s view: It’s tough for any potential suitors to see how Mandzukic is faring given he hasn’t played a single minute of domestic football this season. The 33-year-old retired from international duty last year as well, so United and Dortmund will be wary of going in somewhat blind this January.

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Bayern still keen on Pep and Sane?

Two Bayern Munich chiefs were in England last week as speculation regarding Pep Guardiola and Leroy Sane’s Manchester City futures rises, the Mirror reports. The German champions are without a manager after sacking Niko Kovac, and currently sit third in the Bundesliga table. Head of Sports Hasan Salihamidzic and chief scout Marco Neppe were said to be in England last week, but the club would not comment on their motive when asked by German journalist Christian Falk.

Paper Round’s view: While Sane to Bayern seems a good bet, the rumours linking Guardiola with a return will only die down if he comes out himself to say he will categorically not leave City. With it being the international break, he’s perhaps not in a position to do that, but there will be questions for him to answer in the upcoming press conference before City’s Premier League match against Chelsea on Saturday.

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Can unhappy at Juve

Emre Can has admitted he is unhappy at Juventus having not started a game for the club this season (full story here). The former Liverpool midfielder has fallen down the pecking order at Juve, and reportedly said: "I haven't even started a match and I can't be happy, but I won't be beaten. I will continue to work hard on myself. I'm not happy right now. I'm not playing much at the moment. I played a lot last season, especially in important matches, for Juventus, and I also played well.”

Paper Round’s view: It’s always tough when the new guy comes in and takes your place (yes, you, Aaron Ramsey) and so Can has a big decision to make. Where can he guarantee first-team football? Manchester United have been linked with the German – is isn’t out the question to say he would not be guaranteed a start there too.

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