RONALDO HAS SHOCK NEWCASTLE CLAUSE IN CONTRACT
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Champions League ambitions may not be over just yet, despite signing for Saudi Arabia club Al Nassr. The Sun report, per Marca, that the 37-year-old has a clause in his new contract allowing him to join Newcastle United on loan if they qualify for the Champions League this season. “This is because of the Middle Eastern link – with the North East outfit owned by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund,” the article states. The Portuguese forward signed a two-and-a-half-year contract at Al Nassr after leaving Manchester United in November. Newcastle are currently third in the Premier League table after 17 matches played.
Paper Round’s view: What an unusual turnaround in events this would be. Ronaldo has never hidden his desire to play once more in Europe’s top tier competition and it looks likely that Newcastle will finish in the top-four this season. Whether Eddie Howe would want to take Ronaldo on is a completely different matter, however. He will be 38 by the time next September comes around and will have been out of Europe for almost a year.
LIVERPOOL LOOKING INTO NUNES DEAL
Liverpool are said to be looking into a deal to buy Wolves midfielder Matheus Nunes. The Telegraph claim that an agreement was made last summer when the Portugal international was close to signing for Jurgen Klopp’s side but the transfer did not go through. The Portugal international joined Wolves for £38m with a view to moving once he had adapted to the Premier League.
Paper Round’s view: Even if he has failed to live up to his billing so far at Wolves, there is a reason why many top clubs were linked with the Brazilian-born attacking midfielder last year. He has shown glimpses of his quality at Molineux but has struggled with injuries. At 24 years of age, however, there is plenty of time for Nunes to development in England and with Liverpool crying out for creativity in midfield, he could prove to be another Anfield star.
MAN UTD PRICED OUT OF LOAN MOVE FOR FELIX
According to the Daily Mail, Manchester United are being priced out of a loan move for Joao Felix by Atletico Madrid’s demand of a £13.25m fee. Felix reportedly wants around £5.3m in wages over the remainder of the season, pushing the overall cost of the deal close to the £20m mark. The article also states that United have rejected those terms and are now looking at alternatives.
Paper Round’s view: Limited finances meant that United missed out on Cody Gakpo to Liverpool and it seems ludicrous to think that Old Trafford chiefs would shell out the kind of excessive sums being suggested here for a loan move. Erik ten Hag has said the club will need to get creative in order to sign a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo and therefore it seems unlikely Felix will be coming to Manchester – at least not this month.
ZAHA A SHOCK TARGET FOR BARCELONA
Staying with the Mail who report that Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha has emerged as a target for Barcelona on a free transfer. The winger has entered the final months of his contract at Selhurst Park and is now free to negotiate a pre-contract with overseas clubs from the start of the month.
Paper Round’s view: It seems inevitable that Zaha will move from Crystal Palace this year and a transfer to Camp Nou would be a no-brainer for the Ivory Coast international. Now 30, time is running out for Zaha to prove his worth at a bigger club after his time at Old Trafford between 2013 and 2015 ended on a disappointing note.