MAN UTD PROGRESS IN SEARCH FOR STRIKER
Manchester United are still in the search for a new striker following the exit of Cristiano Ronaldo in November. The Premier League side are reportedly leading the way in the battle to sign Borussia Monchengladbach’s Marcus Thuram. The Mirror reveal that the French forward is available for a cut-price deal due to the fact that his current contract at the Bundesliga club is set to expire at the end of the season. United could sign Thuram for around £10.6 million, but face competition from Aston Villa and Newcastle United. The 25-year-old would prefer to sign for Bayern Munich, Inter Milan, Paris Saint-Germain or Manchester United.
Paper Round’s view: Manchester United are actually in a great position here. They are the only club from Thuram’s preferred four destinations that are genuinely interested in signing him in January. It is likely that the France international will leave Borussia Monchengladbach due to his contract situation and the German club could be open to selling him in January instead of losing him for free in the summer. Thuram proved at the World Cup that he can compete at the highest level, and he can also operate as a wide forward as well as through the middle. United should move quickly so they get their man.
CHELSEA TO SIGN ANOTHER DEFENDER
Chelsea are closing in on the signing of centre-back Benoit Badiashile from Monaco. The Standard report that the Blues have agreed a transfer fee of £33 million with the Ligue 1 club and the youngster has already agreed personal terms with Chelsea. Badiashile will sign a six-and-a-half year contract in west London and is expected to finalise his move to the Premier League this week. So far this winter, Chelsea have already completed the signing of teenager striker David Datro Fofana from Molde and are close to agreeing a £20-million move for 18-year-old Andrey Santos from Vasco da Gama.
Paper Round’s view: Chelsea have put a clear transfer strategy in place since the takeover of Todd Boehly in the summer. The Blues are looking to rebuild their squad and are adding a host of young, talented players. Fofana is not the only teenager they’ve signed since the summer. Gabriel Slonina, Carney Chukwuemeka and Cesare Casadei all joined, while Marc Cucurella and Wesley Fofana are relatively young too. Badiashile is a promising talent, who will learn plenty from veteran centre-back Thiago Silva. The 21-year-old will also allow his Brazilian team-mate to sit out for a match or two, if needed, to give his body a rest.
NEWCASTLE’S TRANSFER WISHLIST REVEALED
Eddie Howe is keen to add a new midfielder to his over-achieving Newcastle United squad in January. The Athletic reveal that “no. 6 playmakers” are the focus for the Magpies in the winter transfer market, despite long-term interest in Leicester City’s James Maddison – who is likely to be too expensive to sign during the season. Newcastle have sent scouts to watch Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans and Brighton’s Moises Caicedo as Howe would prefer a Premier League-ready player. However, the Tyneside club also have Nice’s Khephren Thuram, Borussia Monchengladbach’s Kouadio Kone and Ajax’s Edson Alvarez on their radar.
Paper Round’s view: Newcastle are absolutely flying this season. Not many people would have predicted them to be sitting in third – just two points behind defending Premier League champions, Manchester City – after 17 matches. Obviously, the new owners have invested a fair chunk of cash since their takeover, but it’s a huge jump considering where they were just 12 months ago. Howe will be keen to add some healthy competition to his squad and any new players joining will certainly add top-level quality due to the club’s finances. Tielemans is approaching the end of his Leicester contract, so could be available for a cut-price fee in January.