Real Madrid remain Haaland’s first-choice destination ahead of Man City, Man Utd, PSG and Barcelona – Paper Round
Erling Haaland is edging closer to a meeting with Borussia Dortmund regarding his future, where he plans to tell his parent club of his wishes to leave the Bundesliga club this summer. The 21-year-old is wanted by Europe’s top clubs, including Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain. Spanish media outlet AS reveal that Haaland is keeping his options open, but currently views Real Madrid as his preferred destination. PSG have a good relationship with the Norwegian’s agent, Mino Raiola, and will “dig very deep” to sign Haaland to replace Mbappe. However, it is reported that competing in Ligue 1 does not appeal to the Dortmund striker.
Paper Round’s view: It seems all but confirmed that Haaland will be leaving Dortmund this summer. His time at the Bundesliga club has been sensational, but it must be frustrating that he has not been able to compete for more silverware. It’s time for Haaland to make that step up to an elite-level club now. It should be between Real Madrid and Manchester City really. City are desperate to sign a striker and the opportunity to work with Pep Guardiola is enticing. However, Real Madrid are Real Madrid. Imagine playing alongside Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema. The Galactico’s era will be back in full swing if Real Madrid manage to sign Haaland, Mbappe and Antonio Rudiger this summer.
Arsenal are keeping an eye on Philippe Coutinho, who is currently spending the second half of the season on loan at Aston Villa from Barcelona. The Mirror reveal that the Gunners are monitoring Coutinho’s situation at Villa Park and are ready to hijack any potential permanent deal. It is reported that the Midlands club have the option to sign the Brazilian playmaker for around £33 million this summer. However, Arsenal are “ready to pounce for Coutinho” in case Villa are unable to meet the 29-year-old’s wage demands. Mikel Arteta was said to be interested in signing the Barca star on loan in the summer and winter windows earlier this season.
Paper Round’s view: Coutinho has shown that he didn’t lose his talent, but just his confidence during his disappointing spell at Barcelona. The former Liverpool midfielder has been an instant success playing under the management of former teammate Steven Gerrard at Villa Park. You’d expect the Midlands club to try and complete a permanent deal for Coutinho, but will he be happy to settle for Villa? His return to form might mean he will be looking for a Champions League-level team now. This could bring Arsenal into play if the Gunners secure a top-four finish. However, Coutinho isn’t really the kind of player that Arteta needs to prioritise in the summer transfer window. Signing a right-back, central midfielder and a couple of strikers seem to be more pressing.
‘If we don’t have a plane, I’ll drive a seven-seater’ – Tuchel optimistic despite crisis
Romelu Lukaku has dismissed claims of a return to Inter Milan as “b******t”, according to the Star. The Belgium striker has not had the smoothest homecoming since returning to Chelsea for a club-record fee of £97.5 million last summer, but Lukaku intends to stay and fight for his place at Stamford Bridge. The report reveals that the 28-year-old is “upset by suggestions” that is he ready to push through a return to Inter – even if it meant taking a salary cut. Lukaku has been replaced by teammate Kai Havertz in the starting eleven for Chelsea in recent weeks, but the former Manchester United forward is not throwing in the towel just yet.
Paper Round’s view: It would be disastrous for Lukaku to give up on his Chelsea career already. He proved himself as one of the best strikers in world football during his time in Italy as he led Inter to Serie A glory. Chelsea spent big to secure the Belgian’s signature but have not really been playing to his strengths. It’s a strange one. Why did the club pay nearly £100 million if Thomas Tuchel is not willing to build his team around Lukaku? We all saw how to get the best out of him during his time under Antonio Conte at San Siro. Let him lead attacks with the ball at his feet. Run at defenders. Link up with his fellow attackers. It’s simply not going to work if Chelsea just want to play him as a target man.
Liverpool plan to hold on to back-up goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher for the 2022-23 campaign, despite interest from rival Premier League clubs. The Sun report that the Merseyside club have considered loaning out the Irish stopper but want to keep him at Anfield for at least one more season. Liverpool will lose Adrian and Loris Karius at the end of the season upon the expiration of their contracts, so will hope to keep Kelleher at the club. Jurgen Klopp’s side will assess Kelleher’s long-term Liverpool future throughout next season.
Paper Round’s view: It’s completely understandable for Liverpool. Kelleher will be their only other back-up option this summer once Adrian and Karius depart. Klopp is obviously a big fan of him and will hand him opportunities to start in the domestic cup matches. Kelleher has proved his value as a back-up goalkeeper this season after his match-winning performance in the Carabao Cup final for Liverpool. The 23-year-old is still young by goalkeeping standards, so another year of experience training with one of the best clubs in world football would not be the worst decision.