DEMBELE PICKS CHELSEA
Ousmane Dembele has made his decision on his next club, according to The Mirror. The French international can leave on a free transfer from Barcelona this summer when his contract expires, and he is being pursued by both Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain. The chance to work with his old Borussia Dortmund boss, Thomas Tuchel, has made up his mind.
Paper Round’s view: Dembele has never had a great relationship with the hierarchy at Barcelona and has a reputation for ill-discipline and a lack of fitness. If he knows and respects Tuchel, and vice versa, then perhaps the two can trust one another and get the winger into his best form once again, and show why Barcelona spent so much money on him.
NEWCASTLE RE-DOUBLE EFFORTS FOR BOTMAN
The Telegraph reports that Newcastle are moving onto another defensive player after signing Matt Targett on a permanent, £15 million deal from Aston Villa. Next in line is their long-standing target Sven Botman of Lille. The 22-year-old Dutch international is rated at around €40m and the north east club could make another attempt to sign him after failing in January.
Paper Round’s view: Botman has huge potential after impressing for a couple of seasons with the French side but given his talent he will surely want to progress to a bigger club. In the past, Newcastle would not have been in the running for such a move but given the huge financial backing they have from Saudi Arabia, this is the kind of long-term signing they should be making.
BAYERN HAVE MANE OFFER REJECTED
The Sun report that Bayern Munich have put in bids so far below Liverpool’s £42.5m valuation of striker Sadio Mane that they will not yet hold face-to-face talks with the German club. Bayern have offered a sum that will reach £30m only in the event that they manage to win three Champions Leagues in a row, with an up-front transfer fee of only £23.5m for the 30-year-old forward.
Paper Round’s view: Bayern are a conservatively run club, financially speaking, but it does seem like time-wasting to essentially offer half of what Liverpool want, given the player is under contract for another year, and Jurgen Klopp’s team are not under pressure financially. Given they are set to lose Robert Lewandowski in similar circumstances they should be more reasonable.
LACAZETTE SET FOR LYON RETURN
The Daily Mail has given an update on the future of Alexandre Lacazette. The 31-year-old former French international is out of contract at Arsenal and is set to return to Ligue 1 on a free transfer to Lyon. The striker left Lyon to join Arsenal and as his contribution to the team faded over the years, he has looked set to leave, and he will now go back to lend his experience to a club facing a rebuild.
Paper Round’s view: Over the years Lacazette has rarely been brilliant but he has been a reliable performer. Contrasting that with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s exit at Arsenal shows why he has been appreciated even at times when his form dipped. Now that Eddie Nketiah looks set to remain at the Emirates, Arsenal will be able to focus on buying just one new striker.