The Real Deal
Real Madrid are still interested in signing wonderkid duo Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland, despite missing out on them both during last summer’s transfer window. Mbappe decided to extend his contract at Paris Saint-Germain, while Haaland joined Manchester City. However, Real Madrid have received positive news regarding their long-term transfer targets within the last few days and AS report that Los Blancos are plotting an ambitious double swoop in 2024. Mbappe is unsettled in Paris and his current deal is set to expire in 2024 , so would be available for free if PSG choose to keep him until his contract ends. Haaland reportedly has a €180-million release clause that is activated for foreign clubs in 2024, which could open the door for Real Madrid.
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Paper Round’s view: Real Madrid are desperate to reignite the Galactico era. The Spaniards are coming to the end of their Champions League specialist-era right now. Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Karim Benzema are all in their thirties and it’s time for a new generation. The ideal scenario is combining two of the most exciting young players in world football. Imagine Mbappe and Haaland linking up together at the Santiago Bernabeu in two years’ time. It’s not massively out of reach if the Haaland release clause report is true. Mbappe clearly wants to leave PSG – and if he leaves for free in 2024, he would allow Real Madrid to free up their transfer funds to sign Haaland.
Guimaraes going nowhere in January
Newcastle United are ready to reject any approaches from superstar midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, according to the Mirror. The Magpies’ sporting director Dan Ashworth has stated that the club “absolutely do not want to sell” the Brazilian after a string of impressive performances since arriving on Tyneside in January. The report states that Real Madrid have been in touch with Guimaraes and are interested in the possibility of signing him as early as the winter transfer window. However, Newcastle have made their position very clear and are going to dismiss any attempts of transfer negotiations – even if it is with a big club like Real Madrid.
Paper Round’s view: Guimaraes is clearly a top talent so why would Newcastle entertain the possibility of him leaving less than a year after signing for the club? The Premier League side have huge ambitions. They became one of the richest clubs in football overnight when their takeover was completed last year and their aim is to break into the top-flight’s big six. It’s not totally out of their reach either. Newcastle are in sixth right now. They might struggle to keep hold of Guimaraes if they fail to qualify for the Champions League in a couple of years though – and he does have the quality to play at the top level. One for Real Madrid to keep on their list of long-term transfer targets…
Barca plot summer swoop for three free agents
Barcelona will continue their transfer policy of signing free agents at the end of the season as the Mirror (via Sport) report that the Catalan club are eyeing a trio of Premier League players to bolster their midfield options. Barca are targeting Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante, Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan and Leicester City star Youri Tielemans. If they have not agreed contract extensions at their current clubs, the Blaugrana will be allowed to open negotiations with the three players from January. The report also states that Barcelona are hoping to improve their defense and have Diogo Dalot, Inigo Martinez and Milan Skriniar on their summer shortlist.
Paper Round’s view: Barcelona may need to check what shape their funds are in before planning for the summer transfer window. Xavi’s side are dangerously close to crashing out of the Champions League in the group stage and that would be a nightmare for the club’s finances. Kante, Gundogan and Tielemans are all ‘free’ agents, but their signing-on fees and salaries won’t be cheap – especially if Barca are hoping to outbid any competition from rival clubs. Obviously it’s good to start planning as early as possible, but the club should construct a list of back-up options in case they cannot afford their first-choice targets next summer.
Southgate out, Tuchel in?
Former Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel is open to the possibility of succeeding England boss Gareth Southgate after the winter World Cup in Qatar. There are huge doubts over Southgate’s long-term future with the Three Lions after a host of disappointing performances in the UEFA Nations League. The 52-year-old has admitted that underachieving at the World Cup could prematurely end his role with the national team. The Telegraph report that Tuchel “would be open to any approach” from the FA, but there has not been any contact between the two parties thus far.
Paper Round’s view: There’s no arguing that England have put out some truly turgid performances this year in the build up to the World Cup. The fans are beginning to lose patience with Southgate – a coach who has been a huge factor in reaching the World Cup semi-finals in 2018 then the Euro 2020 final. The England boss has exceeded expectations at both international tournaments he has competed at so let’s not write him off just yet. However, if he were to leave after Qatar, Tuchel would be a very exciting appointment by the FA.
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