Juve plan to poach Pep from City - Paper Round
Juventus plan ambitious summer move for Pep Guardiola, Manchester United look to offload Alexis Sanchez, Barcelona identify an 'emergency' signing and Manchester City are set to return early from their winter break. It's Tuesday's Paper Round...
Juve plan to poach Pep from City this summer
Italy's reigning champions Juventus are ready to poach Pep Guardiola this summer in a "money-no-object move" for the Manchester City manager, according to the Sun. The European giants currently sit in second place in the Serie A table in what is Maurizio Sarri's first year in charge in Turin. However, the Sun state that Juventus president Andrea Agnelli is "desperate" to bring Guardiola in as a replacement for the ex-Chelsea and Napoli head coach who is failing to live up to his high standards. Guardiola is still under contract at the Premier League club until 2021 and he previously admitted he was "open" to signing an extension earlier this season, while City chiefs remain confident he will continue into his fifth year in charge next term.
Paper Round's view: It would be a very ambitious move for Juventus to make. Pep has won league titles in Spain, Germany and England, so an eventual move to Italy (or France) would make complete sense if his plan is to dominate all of Europe's top five leagues. Launching a "money-no-object" deal at Guardiola proves that the Old Lady are continuing their "desperate" attempt to win their first Champions League since 1996. They have heavily invested in bringing in Cristiano Ronaldo and his time at the top might be running out as he turned 35 years old earlier this month. There have been talks about signing Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk in the summer too, so Juve aren't messing around. Bringing in Guardiola could represent a new Galactico side.
United already looking for Sanchez buyers in summer sale
Manchester United are already searching for potential buyers as they look to offload Alexis Sanchez this summer. According to the Manchester Evening News, the Red Devils will sell the Chilean forward once he returns from his season-long loan at Inter Milan, who have no option-to-buy clause in the temporary deal. United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer recently spoke about Sanchez in a press conference, stating that the 31-year-old will return in the summer and "prove you all wrong", but that is now looking unlikely as he isn't a part of his manager's plans at Old Trafford. United plan to bring in either Leicester City's James Maddison or Aston Villa's Jack Grealish to improve their attacking options ahead of next season.
Paper Round's view: Alexis Sanchez might unfortunately be viewed as one of the worst signings in Manchester United's history. He joined in a swap deal which saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan head to Arsenal, but he never found his form at Old Trafford. The former-Barcelona forward is reportedly earning £400,000 per week, which is one of the reasons why he is seen as such a flop. Sanchez was one of the Premier League's best players before leaving London for Manchester so there's obviously a good player in there. He's just suffering from a severe lack of confidence. Inter are currently sitting at the top of the Serie A table, so it should be easier for Sanchez to perform in a team with high morale compared to his previous situation at Old Trafford. Sanchez has just returned from three months out with an ankle injury, so still has the potential to impress for the rest of the season at San Siro and secure himself a good move this summer.
Barca plan emergency striker transfer but forced to deregister current star
Barcelona are set to sign Real Sociedad striker Willian Jose on Wednesday despite the fact that the transfer window has closed. According to the Standard, the Catalan club will be allowed to bring in the Brazilian as an 'emergency transfer' due to long-term injuries to forwards Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele. La Liga's transfer policy means an emergency signing can only be brought in if a club suffers from an injury of at least five months, with the player in question being deregistered from the squad. Barca remain hopeful that Suarez will return from a knee injury at some point in April, but French forward Dembele looks likely to miss the remainder of the season after tearing his hamstring. Dembele is expected to be deregistered to make room for the emergency €30 million signing of Willian Jose.
Paper Round's view: Nothing seems to be going right for Barcelona at the minute. Long-term injuries, Valverde's sacking and being dumped out of the Copa del Rey... it's a nightmare at Camp Nou. Being able to sign a new striker as an 'emergency transfer' will help lift the pressure, but €30 million is lot of money to spend on a short-term fix. Surely Barca could've found a low-fee loan signing to plug the gap until the end of the season. The club are looking to defend their Liga title and win the Champions League, but they will be heavily reliant on Lionel Messi if they were to end up winning either trophy. A January loan move for Chelsea's Olivier Giroud could've been a more sensible option when the extent of Suarez's injury was discovered. The Frenchman might not be the most glamorous signing, but he is a World Cup winner and his compatriot (and Barca forward) Antoine Griezmann enjoys playing alongside him.
Man City v West Ham date nearly decided after match postponed by storm
Manchester City v West Ham looks likely to be rescheduled to Wednesday 19 February, according to the Mirror. The Premier League match was postponed due to heavy rain and strong winds due to Storm Ciara hitting the United Kingdom on Sunday. City are still participating in all four cup competitions at the moment, with a Champions League tie against Real Madrid looming at the end of February, the Carabao Cup final at the start of March and a FA Cup fifth-round match a few days later. This means the game against West Ham needs to be rescheduled sooner rather than later, as the Carabao Cup final means another postponed Premier League match and the other cup ties could lead to City's fixture list becoming very congested if they were to progress in the respective competitions.
Paper Round's view: If next week is the only option available, the clubs involved don't really have much choice. City were always going to have a busy period at the end of the season if they progressed in all the cup competitions like they currently are, but it obviously isn't ideal that their match against West Ham was postponed. Players from both clubs involved have been allowed to leave for the Premier League's planned inaugural winter break and the squads weren't set to return to training until Saturday, meaning they are unable to play next weekend. The players might have to return slightly earlier than planned, but it seems like it will have to happen to accommodate City's busy schedule.