Paper Round: Neymar free to leave PSG, Arsenal agree Saliba fee
Neymar is free to leave PSG whilst Arsenal have agreed a fee for William Saliba. It’s Tuesday’s Paper Round.
Neymar free to leave PSG
We begin with a bombshell interview from France with PSG sporting director Leonardo. The Brazilian said that Neymar is free to leave the club if an offer comes in that suits all parties. The interview comes after the club released an official statement that said Neymar would be punished for not showing up to the start of pre-season training. Leonardo said PSG want to have players in the squad who are here for the long haul.
Paper Round's view: Well this is all getting rather ugly rather quickly isn’t it. It doesn’t seem particularly surprising given what we know about Neymar’s intentions from various media reports so now where do we go from here? Surely the solution is for PSG is to find a resolution with another club, and quickly. It sounds as if Barcelona are the best club to suit all parties, they just need to find a way to make sure they can afford the Brazilian, and Antoine Griezmann.
Arsenal agree Saliba fee
We have a report from The Mail which says Arsenal have now agreed a fee with Saint-Etienne for 18-year-old centre-back William Saliba. The fee agreed is £26million with Saint-Etienne still pushing to be able to keep the defender on loan for next season. Arsenal don’t see Saliba as an immediate starter so that request may well be granted as it may also have a financial benefit if his arrival is delayed by a season.
Paper Round's view: Critics can knock Arsenal all they want for the lack of a big signing but actually over the last few years this sort of deal has really been lacking. Arsenal used to be the kings of finding these gems at a young age and allowing them to develop into first-team stars. Yes they are having to pay more now than they did five to ten years ago but sadly that is the world we live in now. If Saliba ends up being Arsenal’s first-choice centre-back for ten to fifteen years it will be money well spent…
West Ham wait on Gomez
In The Telegraph it is reported that West Ham are waiting on a decision from Celta Vigo on Maxi Gomez. The Hammers are willing to pay a fee of £44.5 million and make the Uruguayan forward the best-paid player at the club. It had been believed that Gomez was close to a move to Valencia but West Ham got involved late, having sold Marko Arnautovic, and are hopeful their bid will be enough to change the player’s mind.
Paper Round's view: Arguably the most encouraging paragraph in this report is where it is mentioned that Manuel Pellegrini is not interested in signing Mario Balotelli. Paper Round loves Balotelli, and we dearly wish that someone will be able to coax his talent out like Lucien Favre did briefly at Nice but sadly we can’t see that happening at West Ham. Looking at Gomez is a better move for the club’s long-term.
Lampard wants Cole reunion
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard wants former team-mate Ashley Cole to join him back at Stamford Bridge. Lampard and Cole were part of Chelsea’s spine during one of the club’s most successful periods and were reunited last season at Derby County when Cole joined as a player under Lampard. Now the former full-back has retired and Lampard wants him to join as part of his staff.
Paper Round's view: Look a lot of people will have some ideas about having Cole as a coach and that’s fair enough, he’s done a lot of stupid things in his life. However the reports coming out of Derby last season were really encouraging and it sounded as if he really did work well with the club’s younger players. There’s more pressure than ever on younger players and few players had to deal with the spotlight like Cole did, he could be a great person to help steer them in the right direction.