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Real identify alternative signing to Mbappe - Paper Round

Real identify alternative signing to Mbappe - Paper Round

25/02/2020 at 11:08Updated 25/02/2020 at 19:25

Kylian Mbappe no longer a priority for Real Madrid, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang contract talks stall with Arsenal, Everton join race for Brazilian defender and Leicester look to extend Christian Fuchs' contract. It's Tuesday's Paper Round...

Mbappe no longer the Real deal

Real Madrid are reportedly ready to "scrap their world-record transfer swoop for Kylian Mbappe" and go after everyone's favourite wonderkid Erling Braut Haaland instead. According to the Sun, Madrid president Florentino Perez could turn his attention to the Borussia Dortmund forward, who would be significantly cheaper than attempting to sign Mbappe from Paris Saint-Germain. Haaland has only just joined the Bundesliga club in January, but the Norwegian has a £65 million release clause in his contract, which will be active from 2021. Mbappe would cost Los Blancos closer to £250 million, especially after he signed permanently for PSG for over £160 million in 2018.

Paper Round's view: Mbappe to Real Madrid is seen as a long-term ambition for Florentino Perez and the club officials and it's extremely unlikely that Los Blancos would attempt to bring the 21-year-old to the Spanish capital this summer. Therefore, if the earliest a deal would be made is 2021, Haaland becomes a serious alternative option for Real Madrid. If the £65 million release clause is compared to an eye-watering transfer fee for Mbappe, it could be a no-brainer. However, Haaland hasn't been performing at the highest level for the same amount of time as the French forward and he's only just joined Dortmund. Maybe we should give the 19-year-old a bit of time before plotting his transfer to Real Madrid.

Aubameyang contract talks with Arsenal hit a halt

Arsenal's contract talks with club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have stalled, according to the Sun. The Gunners' star striker will be entering the final year of his contract this summer, leaving the north London club in a stressful situation if he were to decide not to extend his current deal. Arsenal would risk losing Aubameyang for free in 2021, so it's expected the club would accept selling the 30-year-old at the end of this season if contract talks are unsuccessful. The Sun report that Inter Milan are looking at a potential swoop for Aubameyang this summer if they lose Argentine striker Lautaro Martinez to Barcelona.

Paper Round's view: It's a nightmare situation - but it's one that Arsenal always seem to get themselves into. The club left it too late in the past with contract talks for the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Robin van Persie and even Mesut Ozil, who was desperately handed an extortionate amount of money to stay at the Emirates in order to save face after the club were forced to sell Sanchez. Now Arsenal could lose their best player and club captain (it's like deja vu) just when things are looking like they're finally going to get better. To be honest though, why would Aubameyang want to stay at Arsenal? He's 30 years old and has one last big contract in his career. Arsenal aren't going to qualify for next season's Champions League and a player like Aubameyang should be playing at the top level.

Everton join battle to sign Brazilian defender

Everton have joined Premier League rivals Arsenal and Leicester City in the pursuit of Lille centre-back Gabriel. According to the Mirror, the Toffees have made Gabriel their "priority summer signing" as Carlo Ancelotti looks to bolster his defensive options. Everton's scouting team have reportedly watched the Brazilian several times in the recent months, with Arsenal and Leicester also attending Ligue 1 matches to check out the 22-year-old. Gabriel has admitted that a move to the Premier League would be a "dream", but Lille will demand around £30 million for their defender this summer. The Mirror state that Everton are willing to match the asking price, which could mean the Toffees will win the race for Gabriel.

Paper Round's view: Everton are in need of another centre-back. There are only three central defenders in their squad: Michael Keane, Yerry Mina and Mason Holgate, so no wonder Ancelotti has identified it as a position that needs to be addressed this summer. Keane and Mina both cost the club quite a bit of money, so the Merseyside outfit will be hoping that Gabriel is the real deal. £30 million is a lot of money to pay for a defender who is currently playing in his first full season in Ligue 1. Either way, Ancelotti needs to sign a new centre-back as soon as possible, so it's encouraging signs for Everton supporters that the club's recruitment team are planning ahead for the summer transfer window.

Leicester look to extend Fuchs contract

Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers is set to hold contract talks with veteran defender Christian Fuchs, whose current deal expires at the end of the season. According to the Mail, the 33-year-old will be offered the opportunity to stay at the King Power stadium for another 12 months. Fuchs' role for the Foxes has been limited over the past two seasons due to the emergence of home-grown left-back Ben Chilwell, but the Austrian has recently been used as a left-sided centre-back in an alternative tactical system by Rodgers. The Premier League winner's family live in the United States, which could influence his decision as he had always planned to move to New York and join them.

Paper Round's view: Fuchs is a valuable member of the Leicester squad and it makes sense that Rodgers wants to keep him around. The former Schalke full-back was part of the title-winning squad back in 2016 and he offers plenty of experience and leadership skills in a young Leicester team, alongside the likes of Wes Morgan and Marc Albrighton. Fuchs' versatility will also be appealing for Rodgers and losing a player for free means you usually have to pay for a replacement. With Chilwell heavily linked with a exit to Chelsea, Leicester won't want to lose two left-backs this summer - especially with Champions League football looming large next term.