Newcastle United join chase for Chelsea’s German defender Antonio Rudiger ahead of free transfer – Paper Round

Newcastle United are the latest team to join the race for Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger, according to a story in the Daily Mail. The 29-year-old German international has not ruled out signing another deal to stay at Stamford Bridge but looks set to leave. Clubs such as Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain have been linked but Newcastle think that they have a chance.

Paper Round’s view: Newcastle’s fresh money means that they are not hampered by a Covid-19 hangover, and that would allow them to spend big. Rudiger is perhaps the perfect signing available as Chelsea will not be able to resist a new rival, and he also gives them credibility, experience and the knowledge of how to win major trophies – all things Newcastle lack.

‘It’s true we have changed’ – Xavi is happy with the Barcelona progress but cool on title talk

Spanish newspaper Marca reported on Joan Laporta’s comments about Borussia Dortmund’s striker Erling Haaland. The 21-year-old Norwegian comes with a 75 million euro release clause which can be activated at the end of the season, and Laporta would not be drawn on a transfer, saying: “I can’t talk about players because otherwise we would raise their price tag.”

Paper Round’s view: Haaland remains the most promising central striker that the world has seen for many years, and it would be no surprise if Barcelona wanted him. The comments about the price apply despite his release clause, because it is thought that Haaland’s agent and perhaps family will be looking for a huge commission given the low cost of his clause.

Middlesbrough’s Djed Spence is wanted by Bayern Munich, and the 21-year-old wing-back could be on the move, according to a story in The Mirror. The player is currently on loan at Nottingham Forest and his displays have attracted the attention of both Tottenham and Arsenal. With his contract running until 2024, it may take an offer of £12m to secure his signature.

Paper Round’s view: Bayern have increasingly focused on young English talent, following where Borussia Dortmund have found bargains. With German teams prepared to give youngsters chances in the first team earlier than most of their English counterparts, they have become a viable and useful stepping stone for players who need to gain experience.

The Sun reports on quotes from Juan Laporta that he may not be able to sign Adama Traore. The 25-year-old winger is on loan from Wolves and there is also an option – but not an obligation – to make the deal permanent in the summer. Laporta said: “We’d love Adama Traore to stay here, it’s possible – but we’re in a difficult financial situation. We’ll see at the end of the season.”

Paper Round’s view: While everyone understands that Barcelona are indeed in a tough spot for money, it is worth remembering that Traore will soon be in the last 12 months of his contract with Wolves. That means that Barcelona – and indeed other teams who are interested – will try to drive the price down given Wolves will not want to lose him for nothing at the end of his deal.