United to offer cash plus two players for Fernandes - Paper Round
Manchester United plan ambitious Bruno Fernandes bid and look to hijack Chelsea transfer, while Inter Milan are desperate to complete Christian Eriksen transfer in January and Barcelona make Mauricio Pochettino their top target to replace Ernesto Valverde. It's Monday's Paper Round...
United to offer two players plus cash for Fernandes
Manchester United are reportedly ready to submit a bid for highly-rated Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes which could see two of their players heading to Sporting Lisbon as part of a swap deal involving a cash fee too, according to the Sun. The media outlet reveal that former Sporting defender Marcos Rojo is one of the players United officials are willing to use as a pawn in the deal, but the other is unnamed. The Red Devils are "desperate" to bring the 25-year-old to Old Trafford this month, with injuries to Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay depleting their midfield options. Sporting are demanding £60 million for their captain and United face competition for Fernandes' signature from Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
Paper Round's view: Manchester United are in a tough position. They're really missing the presence of Pogba in their midfield, but it looks like his time at Old Trafford is up with a summer move to Real Madrid or Juventus on the cards. Bruno Fernandes is a name that has been linked with Manchester United for a couple of years now, but his signing made zero sense while Pogba was supposed to be the star of the Red Devils' midfield. Now that Pogba is injured and likely to leave, it opens a space for Fernandes to be the main man in midfield. Fernandes brings creativity and goals from the centre of the park, something that has been desperately missing at the club for years. If United can bring him in for a lower fee than what has been demanded and get Rojo off their books then it could be a decent deal for the Premier League side.
Inter push to complete Eriksen deal in January
Inter Milan are looking to complete the signing of Christian Eriksen from Tottenham in the January transfer window, despite the Denmark international being available to sign for free in the summer. According to the Mirror, the Serie A side will offer central midfielder Matias Vecino plus cash in a deal worth £20 million as they tempt Tottenham into accepting an offer. Inter are pushing for the transfer to be completed in the winter window as they are worried about the possibility of Barcelona or Real Madrid hijacking the deal once Eriksen's contract expires in July. The 27-year-old is said to have "always set his heart on a move to Spain", so Inter will have to be convincing with their contract offer.
Paper Round's view: Inter are gunning for glory this season. They are looking like the best Inter Milan side since their treble-winning season back in 2010 and Antonio Conte is deserving all the plaudits he gets. His 352 system features the exceptional partnership of attacking duo Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez, but imagine how lethal the side could be with Christian Eriksen involved too. Inter are battling with Juventus for the league title and Conte knows the difference Eriksen could make if he joins in January, so it makes sense for the Nerazzurri to pay a fee to bring the Danish playmaker in to strengthen their title bid. However, Inter will need Eriksen to rediscover his form quickly, as he has not been at his best this season in England.
United send scouts to watch Chelsea target
Manchester United reportedly sent their scouts to watch Chelsea target Moussa Dembele during Lyon's 2-1 win over Bordeaux on Saturday as the Red Devils look to hijack their top four rivals' bid to sign the Frenchman. The former Celtic forward scored the winner for Lyon as United scouts watched on. According to the Mirror, United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is "keen to add another goal threat" to his squad after the departures of Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan last summer and Dembele "ticks all the boxes" for the Norwegian manager. United face competition from other Premier League clubs in the chase for Dembele, but the club is said to be "in regular contact with Lyon" over any potential transfer for the 23-year-old.
Paper Round's view: Manchester United would be bonkers to let Chelsea swoop in and sign Dembele ahead of them. The Red Devils have been linked with the French forward since last summer and probably should’ve signed him back then. Solskjaer’s side have been so inconsistent going forward this season, despite the fact that Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood have been brilliant at points. Dembele is a complete forward and he looks like he would thrive at Old Trafford in a front three alongside Rashford and Martial. The current United side look like they have desperately needed a natural centre-forward in their ranks since the departure of Lukaku because they lack a focal point in their attack.
Barca make Poch number one target
According to the Sun, Barcelona have made former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino their top target as they search for a potential replacement for Ernesto Valverde whose current contract expires at the end of the season. The Catalan club recently approached former players Xavi Hernandez and Ronald Koeman in an attempt to get one of them to replace Valverde following his side's 3-2 loss to Atletico Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup semi-final defeat, a competition which was eventually won by Barca's rivals Real Madrid. The pair reportedly rejected the opportunity, meaning the Liga side are now looking to bring in Argentine manager Pochettino. The 47-year-old was sacked by Tottenham back in November, but previously managed Barcelona's fierce rivals Espanyol.
Paper Round's view: It’s very difficult to see Pochettino go to Barcelona. His previous association with Espanyol pretty much writes off any potential involvement with the Spanish champions, despite the allure of working at such a prestigious club with his compatriot Lionel Messi. Poch has previously ruled out any chance of him becoming Barca boss, declaring his love for his previous club Espanyol and his desire to stay loyal. The South American even said "I would prefer to work on my farm in Argentina than to go and work in certain places”, as he shut down talk linking him to the Barcelona job while he was at Tottenham. It must be tough to completely rule out potentially becoming Barcelona boss, but Pochettino is a manager who could get a job at most clubs in world football. When he is ready to return to management, he will be in high demand.