PSG hope Messi stays in French capital
Paris Saint-Germain will continue contract talks with Lionel Messi when he returns from the World Cup, according to the Mail. The 35-year-old’s current contract in the French capital expires this summer and there have been serious rumours regarding a shock return to Barcelona. The Liga club’s president Joan Laporta has publicly opened the door to Messi, so PSG are keen to tie the Argentine down to a new deal to put an end to the rumours. Messi will be offered a two-year contract with the Ligue 1 champions, while the club intend to offer extensions to Marco Verratti, Sergio Ramos and Presnel Kimpembe too.
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Paper Round’s view: Extending Messi’s contract didn’t seem like such a big deal in the summer, but the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner has finally rediscovered his old form after struggling during his opening campaign in France. Now it seems like PSG will be hoping to keep hold of Messi and Kylian Mbappe in their bid to win a Champions League title. It could lead to Neymar’s exit, but there are no guarantees that PSG will be able to find a suitor. If Messi agrees to stay for two more years in Paris, you’d think he will eventually move to the MLS in 2025 for one final payday.
Sanchez’s Premier League admirers
Premier League duo Manchester United and Chelsea are reportedly interested in Brighton goalkeeper Robert Sanchez, according to the Sun. The 24-year-old has been called up to the Spain squad for the World Cup and has impressed since breaking into the Brighton team two seasons ago. Chelsea boss Graham Potter is a big fan of his former player, while Manchester United are keeping tabs on Sanchez due to the uncertainty surrounding the long-term future of David de Gea at Old Trafford. De Gea’s current contract is set to expire next summer, but there is an option to extend his deal by an additional 12 months.
Paper Round’s view: Sanchez is a solid stopper and proven himself as Premier League quality over the past few years. However, there are still question marks over whether he would perform at a club competing for European places. We know there are still mistakes in his game – as seen during Brighton’s defeat against Aston Villa on Sunday afternoon. Is he a better option than his compatriots De Gea and Kepa Arrizabalaga? Probably not. Especially as his release clause is reported to be around £57 million. That’s not exactly cheap.
Barca continue search for right-back
Barcelona are readying their January transfer window plans, with Spanish media outlet Sport reporting that the Blaugrana will reignite their search for a right-back. The addition of a new right-sided defender is the “top priority” for Barca due to the lack of long-term faith in Hector Bellerin and Sergi Roberto. Xavi has identified long-term targets Diogo Dalot, Juan Foyth and Benjamin Pavard as first-choice options, but there is also interest in Wilfried Singo and Jeremie Frimpong. The club will focus on a new left-sided centre-back and deep-lying midfielder in the summer transfer market.
Paper Round’s view: More spending at Barcelona… despite their well-reported financial problems. Is this going to end well? Who knows. Yes – the Catalan club probably do need a new right-back, but will that make a difference in the remainder of their season? It will be a complete disaster (again) if they spend a huge fee bringing in one of the names mentioned in January and then fail to win any silverware this season. As it stands, they are top of La Liga and face Manchester United in the Europa League. Maybe a new right-back could be vital to their title hopes.
Guardiola using break to decide future
Pep Guardiola will consider his Manchester City future during the mid-season break for the 2022 World Cup. The 51-year-old’s current contract with the Premier League champions is set to expire next summer and it is unknown whether Guardiola will extend his stay at the Etihad Stadium. The Mail reveals that Manchester City insiders believe the next month will be vital and he will be visiting club officials in Abu Dhabi during the break to inform them of his future plans.
Paper Round’s view: It would be a disaster for Manchester City if Guardiola decided to leave when his contract expires in the summer. The club definitely would want to know as early as possible so they can start to plan for the future and six months is not really a long time. You’d think Guardiola will be open to extending his contract – especially as he is building a new team around Erling Haaland at the moment. It wouldn’t make sense to leave in the summer.
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