Premier League – Paper Round: Gareth Bale will NOT come back to England
Thursday’s papers drop a bombshell: the expected biggest transfer of the summer already looks dead in the water..
Bale to stay at Real Madrid – Gareth Bale‘s representatives recently went to Spain and met with Real Madrid amid speculation that he could be sold to Manchester United. But The Mirror claims that after the meeting, it became clear that Bale will stay at the Bernabeu. The Welshman doesn’t want to quit Real Madrid quite yet and the club are happy to keep him. That rules out any chance of a swap including Bale and David De Gea.
Paper Round’s view – United fans had talked themselves into believing this one, but it makes sense for Bale to stay at Real Madrid beyond this summer. He won’t want to quit yet – he’d be branded a failure if he did – and a sale was always difficult since there aren’t many clubs that will pay over £80 million for a player coming off of a rough season – and Real Madrid wouldn’t have sold on the cheap. It’s in both the Welshman and club’s best interests that he stay; so if Real Madrid want De Gea, they’ll have to pay cash, which was always the most likely scenario.
Liverpool won’t sell Sterling to Man United – Manchester United have inquired about Raheem Sterling‘s status at Liverpool – a story that several papers report – but one article follows up with news that the Reds quickly said no. That piece is in the Telegraph, which understands that even if Liverpool weren’t reluctant to sell Sterling, they would never sell to the Red Devils at any price. Still, Manchester United contacted Liverpool in the last week and may yet submit a formal bid to test the Reds’ resolve.
Paper Round’s view – Liverpool are pretty committed to keeping Sterling. They can’t afford to take the hit of selling their top youngster, even if they are already spinning the narrative so they won’t look as bad when they do (maybe next summer). But if and when they do come to sell him, it will absolutely not be to Manchester United. No player has moved directly between the two clubs since 1964, and that 51-year-old record is not about to get broken over a player who has generated interest from so many moneyed clubs.
Man City to swoop for Berahino – Saido Berahino is the latest player to make Manchester City’s wishlist, according to The Star. The Citizens are ready to make a £20 million bid for the forward, whose status at West Brom is unclear. The Baggies would love to keep the 21-year-old, but they haven’t been able to sign him to a new contract and know they may lose him if a big club comes calling.
Paper Round’s view – Berahino is a wise target for a club looking to get younger. He’s an excellent young player who would give the team some young legs up top in place of the several older options like Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic, who the Citizens are expected to sell this summer. It helps that Berahino is also English, which would help City meet the homegrown quota that could be a problem for them.
Spurs to keep Lamela, sell several others – Erik Lamela isn’t leaving Tottenham, at least not ifMauricio Pochettino has anything to say about it. The Mirror believes that the Spurs manager told chairman Daniel Levy he wants to keep the Argentine, who has drawn interest from Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan. But while Lamela will stay, Pochettino wants to sell Roberto Soldado, Paulinho, Etienne Capoue and Vlad Chiriches this summer, all of whom were bought two years ago after the sale of Gareth Bale.
Paper Round’s view – Lamela hasn’t lived up to his considerable hype or £30 million price tag, but he has been a contributor for Tottenham so it’s not as if he has been a complete flop. He is part of the squad and, at just 23 years old, can still become the exceptional player Spurs thought they were buying. That he happens to fit into Pochettino’s system and they share a homeland probably helps. Soldado, Paulinho, Capoue and Chiriches haven’t been as good, are older and don’t quite fit so there’s no reason for Spurs to keep any of the four.
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Ibe to sign new Liverpool deal today – Liverpool have agreed to a new contract with Jordan Ibe. The Sun say that the club and player have agreed to a new contract that will pay Ibe £35,000-per-week over five years and that it will be announced on Thursday. The two sides had seen negotiations stall when Ibe rejected a £25,000-per-week offer, but Liverpool increased their offer to get the deal done.
Paper Round’s view – Liverpool couldn’t afford not to sign Ibe to a new contract. The Raheem Sterling drama is hanging over the club’s heads and they couldn’t have both of their top young players in danger of leaving heading into the summer. Ibe knew that and negotiated wisely, utilizing the leverage that the Sterling situation afforded him to get him a deal that paid him more. It may not be the deal that Liverpool wanted, but they did well to get Ibe signed up – and if he develops like they hope he will it will be a bargain anyway.
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Chelsea, Man City considering Song – Chelsea and Manchester City are both interested in signing Alex Song, per The Mail. Song has been on loan at West Ham this season and has been solid, but Barcelona want £6 million for him and Inter Milan looked like a more likely landing spot. Chelsea and Man City need to add homegrown players though – and Song qualifies as such because he joined Arsenal when he was 17.
Paper Round’s view – Song would certainly be a surprise buy for Chelsea or City and it’s unlikely that they make him a priority, but if they still need homegrown players as the summer drags on then he could be a real option. A team can always use more central midfield options and if Song is willing to be nothing more than a depth option, he wouldn’t be a bad signing for either side. But more likely, both teams will find much better players and satisfy the homegrown requirements so they don’t have to pick up Song.