Thomas Tuchel is top target on Manchester United shortlist ahead of Mauricio Pochettino and Erik ten Hag – Paper Round

Manchester United have narrowed their managerial shortlist down to five candidates and the Mail report that Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is currently their leading option. Club officials are keen to make a final decision over their new permanent coach as soon as possible and the process has entered an “advanced stage” with the five-man shortlist. Tuchel is joined by Mauricio Pochettino, Erik ten Hag, Julen Lopetegui and Luis Enrique. However, United are hoping to take advantage of the current chaotic situation at Stamford Bridge by poaching their Premier League rival’s manager. Current interim boss Ralf Rangnick is hoping to use his “close ties” to his compatriot to lure Tuchel to Old Trafford.

Paper Round’s view: Tuchel was happy at Chelsea but the current situation in west London means that the club’s future is completely unpredictable. The German has committed his short-term future to the Blues by confirming he will be staying until the end of the season at least, but he cannot give any further assurances due to the question marks surrounding the club. It would be a massive shock if Tuchel left Chelsea and joined their rivals. However, it would be a very smart and ruthless appointment from Manchester United. Tuchel quickly turned that Chelsea side into winners and could do the same thing at Old Trafford, while restoring a much-needed identity to the club.

Mohamed Salah has emerged as a surprise summer transfer target for Barcelona, according to Spanish media outlet Sport. The Liverpool forward is out of contract in 2023 and there have been no signs that any progress has been made towards agreeing an extension at Anfield. Sport state that the Egypt international has “no intention of renewing” with Liverpool and wants to either leave this summer or next year for free. Barca are willing to offer €70 million to sign Salah in the summer and would make his salary more affordable over a long-term contract. Paris Saint-Germain have also joined the race to sign Salah as a replacement for Kylian Mbappe, who is expected to join Real Madrid at the end of the current campaign.

Paper Round’s view: Salah would be a real statement signing from Barcelona. The 29-year-old has won the Premier League and Champions League during his time at Liverpool and is probably ready for a new challenge. Barcelona would be able to build their team around him and the idea that he could be the player to bring the glory days back to the Camp Nou might well appeal to Salah. It may seem like a bit of an odd transfer for Barca to make, considering they are well-stocked in attack. However, it would be difficult to pass up the opportunity to sign one of the best players in world football. PSG will definitely put up a fight and Salah may find himself a more lucrative deal in the French capital.

‘Time-wasting antics by Atletico. Ref made it easy’ Rangnick

Jan Oblak is reportedly “open to a new challenge” and could leave Atletico Madrid after spending eight years in the Spanish capital. The Sun report that Newcastle United are interested in the Slovenian stopper and would be keen to add him to their squad if he became available. Oblak’s current deal at the Wanda Metropolitano is set to expire in 2023, meaning he could either be available for a cut-price fee this summer or leave for free in 2023. Newcastle are hoping to make some more statement signings at the end of the season after their recent takeover. However, there is likely to be rival interest in Oblak from Europe’s top clubs.

Paper Round’s view: Oblak is one of the best goalkeepers in world football and it would be a major coup if Newcastle managed to pull off his signing. Surely there will be a long list of clubs in line to try and sign the 29-year-old if he were to become available. Oblak previously mentioned his admiration of the Premier League, but he is an elite-level goalkeeper who could play for most clubs in world football. Newcastle need to establish themselves as a club that competes in Europe before they manage to secure players on Oblak’s level. Targeting a goalkeeper like Jordan Pickford (although that may be unrealistic due to his Sunderland links), Dean Henderson or Sam Johnstone may be more sensible for this summer.

Marcus Rashford could miss out on the England squad for the international friendlies taking place at the end of March. The Manchester United forward has found himself out of the starting eleven at Old Trafford and struggling for form. The Independent reveal that Rashford’s United teammate Jadon Sancho is expected to return to the Three Lions squad after impressing of late. Jarrod Bowen is set to miss out on a debut call-up due to injury, while Eric Dier, Ben White and Fikayo Tomori are all pushing for recalls in central defence. Injuries to Ben Chilwell and Kieran Trippier has opened the door at left-back, with Tyrick Mitchell, Matt Targett, Kyle Walker-Peters, James Justin and Luke Thomas all viewed as potential options for Gareth Southgate.

Paper Round’s view: Rashford could do with some time out of the limelight – especially due to the unfortunate jeers he has been getting at Old Trafford. Southgate will probably have a chat with the 24-year-old to let him know his thoughts on his England future, instead of just leaving him out in the cold. Elsewhere, international friendlies are the perfect time to experiment. There is a World Cup later this year, so it is time for some of the players on the fringes of the squad to make their mark. The centre-back and left-back positions are both up for grabs now due to injuries and players who are out-of-form.