Manchester United under pressure to appoint manager amid Real Madrid interest in Mauricio Pochettino – Paper Round

Manchester United are being forced to speed up their decision over the appointment of a new manager, according to the Mail. The Premier League club have reportedly whittled their shortlist down to Mauricio Pochettino, Erik ten Hag, Julen Lopetegui and Luis Enrique – with the current Paris Saint-Germain and Ajax managers leading the race for a spot in the Old Trafford dugout. It is expected that Pochettino and Ten Hag will leave their current roles at the end of the season, but the Mail reveal that the pair have started to attract attention from elsewhere, therefore putting pressure on United to make a decision on their appointment. Pochettino is now on Real Madrid’s radar, while Ten Hag has spoken with two other “Champions League-level” clubs.

Paper Round’s view: Manchester United don’t hold the same power that they once did. 10 years ago, any manager would have held out for the opportunity to work at Old Trafford, but now the club does not have the same reputation. The Red Devils may not even be competing in the Champions League next season – so Pochettino and Ten Hag will be offered the opportunity to compete in Europe’s elite competition elsewhere. Despite all of this – United just need to make their decision. Announce their new manager, so the club can bury the current campaign and start to think about next season. It’s all about the rebuilding job and the future. United are genuinely a couple of signings and a good manager away from competing for silverware again.

Bruno Fernandes is set to sign a contract extension at Manchester United that would tie him down at Old Trafford until 2027. The Telegraph reveal that the Portugal international will more than double his current salary, jumping from £100,000 per week to a whopping £240,000 per week. The new deal would make Fernandes one of the highest earners at the club, but he would still be behind the likes of David De Gea and Cristiano Ronaldo. Manchester United are ready to release an official announcement on the deal after the current international break.

Paper Round’s view: Fernandes has not mirrored his form from the first 18 months in the Premier League, but he remains one of the more important players at Manchester United. It seems like a bit of a risk for the Red Devils though. A new manager is coming in this summer, and you cannot predict that the new boss views Fernandes as a key part of their plans. Obviously the 27-year-old is a huge talent and has plenty to offer at Old Trafford, but the new manager might play a different style or prefer a different player in that number 10 role. Fernandes could be a great fit for someone like Mauricio Pochettino, but Erik ten Hag may prefer Donny van de Beek. This decision could have waited a month or two.

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Barcelona have entered the race to sign Leeds United forward Raphinha this summer, according to the Mirror. The Catalan club join Liverpool, Manchester City, Bayern Munich, West Ham United and Newcastle United in the list of clubs sniffing around Raphinha. The Brazilian is highly-valued at Elland Road – with a reported £55-million bid from West Ham rejected in the winter transfer window – but Raphinha’s current contract is set to expire in 2024. Leeds are planning to offer him a new deal with a bumper pay rise, but there has been no breakthrough in talks so far – which could open the door to a move away.

Paper Round’s view: Raphinha is a top-class talent. Leeds will be fully focused on Premier League survival right now, but they will definitely be worried about the possibility of losing the 25-year-old this summer… even if they manage to survive the drop. It’s surprising to see Raphinha on Barcelona’s shortlist due to his price tag and the fact that the Blaugrana have the chance to sign the revitalised Ousmane Dembele to a contract extension if they really want to. Barca should save their money and re-sign Dembele, even if it is to a short-term deal. The club doesn’t really have £50 million to throw about.

Paris Saint-Germain are interested in signing Wolves winger Pedro Neto and the Mail state that they have added the 22-year-old to their summer transfer shortlist. The Portugal international, who recently made his first start in almost a year after suffering a kneecap fracture last April, recently signed a contract extension until 2027 with Wolves. However, PSG are in the market for a new winger amid the expected summer departure of Kylian Mbappe. The French club are also interested in Leeds United’s Raphinha, Barcelona’s French forward Ousmane Dembele and Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford.

Paper Round’s view: PSG need to reassess their transfer business. Last summer we all thought they had the perfect window. Lionel Messi, Sergio Ramos, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Georginio Wijnaldum all joined for free, while Achraf Hakimi and Nuno Mendes were added at wing-back. However, their team just still does not work at an elite level. Adding a hard-working winger like Neto could actually work. It would give the team a much-needed balance. The main problem is that the Wolves star won’t come cheap due to his contract situation. Dembele is a free agent so may make the most sense, but he would also offer the least defensive effort. It’s all about balance.