United given Kounde boost
Manchester United have been given a boost in their pursuit of Sevilla defender Jules Kounde. The 22-year-old French centre back has a release clause of £70 million, but the Mirror reports that his Spanish club could lower their asking price and let him go for around £50 million. United are also considering moves for Raphael Varane and Brighton’s Ben White.
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Paper Round’s view: The club apparently want to sign another central defender to give Harry Maguire a partner for next season, but really they should be looking to replace both him and Victor Lindelof. Both have been huge disappointments and it is only the huge outlay on Maguire that means that the club are not willing to give up on him when really they should be more ruthless.
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Miazga keen to leave Chelsea
Chelsea defender Matt Miazga has admitted that he is keen to move on from the club to find a permanent home. The 25-year-old American international has spent years on loan away from Stamford Bridge, and is currently at Anderlecht after spells at clubs such as Vitesse, Nantes and Reading. He would be keen on going to a club who can offer him a European competition, reports the Sun.
Paper Round’s view: It is often hard to tell with Chelsea whether they recruit various players with the intention to loan them and bring them into the first team or if they plan to bring them into the Premier League and increase their value at other clubs to help meet Financial Fair Play requirements by then selling them for a profit. Miazga looks nowhere near Chelsea’s first team and is understandably ready to move on.
Leeds keen on N’Koulou
Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa is keen on making a move for Torino central defender Nicolas N’Koulou, according to the Daily Mail. The 30-year-old Cameroonian is out of contract with the Italian side at the end of the season and so is available on a free transfer. N’Koulou played for Bielsa when the pair of them were both at Marseille, and has been linked with PSG, Spurs, Arsenal and Newcastle in the past.
Paper Round’s view: N’Koulou was highly regarded as a youngster but a move to Torino seems to reflect that he could not quite make the most of his potential. However, if he is trusted by Bielsa and able to work in his demanding system then it would give him the chance to finally step up to the Premier League, where he should be able to adjust to its physical and tactical demands.
Zidane open to Ronaldo return
Spanish newspaper Marca claims that Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane would welcome Cristiano Ronaldo back to the club. The 36-year-old Portuguese international striker is set to leave current side Juventus in the summer, and his agent Jorge Mendes has already begun talks about a potential return, with the French boss happy to see him come back to the side.
Paper Round’s view: Ronaldo can offer plenty of goals and with the amount of young talent starting to come through at Real Madrid, they can afford to accommodate the ageing Ronaldo. There are players who would offer a more long-term solution but for a couple more years, he could allow Real to dominate weaker sides and give others a professional attitude to learn from.
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