Manchester City weigh up Pogba swoop
The Daily Mail believes that Manchester City are considering a huge deal for Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba. The 29-year-old is out of contract at Old Trafford in the summer and so can leave on a free transfer, and he is seen as a potential replacement for outgoing utility man Fernandinho. The France international is on £290,000 a week at United but that is unlikely to be a problem for City, who may face competition from Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain.
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Paper Round’s view: Pogba has been a hugely underwhelming player for United for the past few seasons and he has failed to show his talents under a string of managers. However his efforts for the France national team, where he won a World Cup, have shown that there is an excellent player there in the right circumstances. If he can get over his concerning lack of fitness that has crept into his game, with long-term injuries a regular feature, then he could finally win the trophies his talent merits.
United and Arsenal linked to £70m Neves
Manchester United and Arsenal have both been linked with Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves in recent years, and the 25-year-old Portuguese could be put up for sale by his current club this summer as he has two years on his current deal. He would like to stay in England if he is sold, and there is no certainty that two other potential suitors, Barcelona and Juventus, could afford him.
Paper Round’s view: Neves is one of the best players outside of the top four and both Arsenal and United need to strengthen their midfields. There seems to be no shortage of funding for Mikel Arteta – who has just signed a new contract – and Erik ten Hag will presumably be looking for an adequate replacement for Pogba this summer, and Neves would probably contribute far more in a red shirt.
United face Ekitike battle
Manchester United are facing competition for Reims’ 19-year-old striker Hugo Ekitike, wanted by incoming manager Erik ten Hag. The Sun reports that the France under-20 international looked set to join Newcastle in the January transfer window but he turned down a deal. The Magpies continue to be interested. He is also wanted by Bayern Munich, while Arsenal are also keen on the youngster.
Paper Round’s view: If Arsenal and United are after Ekitike as well as Neves, it highlights that they are both struggling with their forward line. While United have Cristiano Ronaldo, they need a younger replacement for the long term, while Arsenal may start next year without Eddie Nketiah – wanted by Crystal Palace – and Alexandre Lacazette, whose contract will soon expire.
Nkunku to leave Leipzig
The Mirror reports that there could be another Arsenal vs. Manchester United battle. The player in question this time is Christopher Nkunku, RB Leizpig’s 24-year-old French forward, who can play across the forward line. While United and Arsenal are keen, there is also interest from Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal, and current United boss Ralf Rangnick was baffled by the club’s lack of interest in him when he arrived.
Paper Round’s view: It should be no surprise that United had failed to track Nkunku, because they have rarely acted with any kind of sensible transfer strategy over the last decade. If Ten Hag wants to sign him then he faces a struggle, as United simply cannot offer the same promise of competence as any of the other teams who are reportedly interested in him.
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