Wijnaldum to ring in new era for Barca
Georginio Wijnaldum will become the first signing of Joan Laporta’s second spell as Barcelona president, according to a report from the Times. The 30-year-old had been linked with an Anfield exit as his Liverpool contract approached its expiration date this summer and the Catalan club had made Wijnaldum a “priority target”. Barca boss Ronald Koeman previously coached the Dutch international during his managerial stint with the Netherlands.
Paper Round’s view: This is a new era for Barcelona. The club is going through a difficult period and a rebuild is desperately needed. We might see some more deals of a similar ilk this summer as Barca continue to struggle with their finances following the devastating impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Eric Garcia and Memphis Depay have also been linked with moves to Camp Nou and both would be free transfers, like Wijnaldum. The interesting angle behind the expected arrival of the Liverpool midfielder is that Wijnaldum is a player who is wanted by Koeman – which could mean that the Dutch manager will be given more time in charge at the club.
Shaw set to be rewarded with new deal
Manchester United are set to reward Luke Shaw with a new contract following his recent upturn in form. The 25-year-old’s current deal is set to expire in 2023, so the Premier League club are planning to open contract negotiations in the near future. The Star state that Shaw is a “big part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s plans going forward” and will become one of the club’s highest earners if he agrees to extend his stay at Old Trafford.
Paper Round’s view: Shaw’s form has seen him return to the England squad ahead of this summer’s European Championships and a new contract would top off a sensational comeback year. Does he deserve to be one of the top earners at Manchester United? Shaw has definitely been one of the Red Devils’ best players so far this season so it’s difficult to argue on current form – but we’re talking about a player who was linked with an exit less than a year ago. Manchester United officials will be hoping that the decision won’t be one that they end up regretting.
Cavani out, Dybala in – Euro Papers
‘Furious’ Bailly to reject Man Utd extension
Eric Bailly is ready to reject a contract extension at Manchester United after being left out of the Red Devils’ 1-0 win away at AC Milan last week in the Europa League’s round of 16. The Sun report that the Ivorian centre-back is “upset and furious” with the decision made by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his Europa League omission is said to be “the final straw”. United were prepared to offer Bailly a 12-month extension to his current deal, but he is now starting to reconsider his future at Old Trafford.
Paper Round’s view: This might be the end of Bailly at Manchester United. Will the Premier League club miss him? Probably not. Bailly’s time at Old Trafford has been inconsistent to say the least since his arrival back in 2016. Injuries and a lack of form have limited his appearances for Manchester United and it doesn’t seem like he is fancied by Solskjaer any more. The club need to sign a new centre-back to partner Harry Maguire, so the departure of Bailly would make sense.
Crystal Palace eye Juventus youngster
Crystal Palace are planning to make a move for Juventus defender Radu Dragusin at the end of the season, according to the Sun. The teenage centre-back is approaching the end of his contract in Turin and it seems unlikely that Juve will offer him an extension. Dragusin has made his Serie A debut for the Old Lady, but is struggling to get many chances in the first team on a regular basis.
Paper Round’s view: Dragusin must be rated well if Juventus gave him a chance. The Romanian youngster has made four appearances for the Italian champions so far this season, but his lack of game time is understandable. Juve are famous for their solid centre-back options and Dragusin sits behind Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Matthjis de Ligt and Merih Demiral in the pecking order. It’s not easy to break into the side at the Allianz stadium. Crystal Palace is a good club for nurturing youngsters, so it could be a good move for the 19-year-old.