The Battle of Bellingham
Jude Bellingham is set to be at the center of a transfer tussle next summer, with Athletic reporting the 19-year-old has admirers at Liverpool, Real Madrid, Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea. The England international is said to be a long-term target for Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp, but Manchester United were also close to signing Bellingham before joining Dortmund in 2020. Bellingham is valued at €150m by Borussia Dortmund, who are believed to be enthusiastic. by offering him a contract extension to stay in Germany.
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Paper Round’s point of view: It will be another year of Europe’s best battle against a Borussia Dortmund wonderkid. We’ve seen the same stories in the past with Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland, but now it’s Bellingham’s turn. He continues to be linked with Liverpool. The club obviously see the Three Lions star as a priority target to revamp their midfield. Manchester United and Chelsea look a bit risky at the moment, while Manchester City may not suit their style of play the way Liverpool would. He’s unlikely to sign a new deal at Dortmund so everyone is expected to buckle up for the year-long transfer saga.
Man Utd and Barca target Monaco defender
Manchester United and Barcelona are set to battle it out for the signing of Monaco right-back Vanderson. The Mail (via Sport) report that the pair approached Monaco over the summer but their demands for the Brazilian defender were immediately met with an asking price of £52million. Manchester United are ready to launch a bid for Vanderson at the end of the current campaign and would face more competition, with Newcastle United also interested in signing the 21-year-old. Vanderson only joined Monaco in January this year and already signed another five-year extension in August.
Paper Round’s point of view: The next jewel in the Monegasque crown? Vanderson appears to be highly rated in Ligue 1. The Brazilian right-back was signed for £9.5million in January before Monaco imposed a whopping £52million price tag on him this summer when the big boys are came to call him. The club have responded by tying him to an improved contract but let’s see what happens next summer. Erik ten Hag was keen on signing a right-back this summer and doesn’t yet seem determined in Diogo Dalot. It’s clear United need to improve in this area and Vanderson could be worth it if he’s their new right-back for the next 10 years.
Plans to handle the FA Cup match-up
A number of Premier League clubs will be offered the chance to play single FA Cup matches in the third and fourth rounds, with tournament officials acknowledging the stretched football schedule. The Sun says clubs competing in Europe will be granted special exemptions by the FA and will be allowed to scrap replays in the early rounds to help build up fixtures. The Winter World Cup combined with postponements due to the Queen’s death meant the schedule became congested for clubs competing in European competitions.
Paper Round’s point of view: It’s logic. There’s not really a need for clubs to play replays in the early rounds of the FA Cup. Obviously it’s always nice to see minnows take a Premier League side to their home ground or to see a smaller club sell an away game at a top stadium, but something has to give this season. There are too many games to play this season and simply not enough dates in the football calendar.
A new Super Cup?
UEFA are considering the possibility of expanding the Super Cup and could even invite American teams to a “revamped” tournament. The current UEFA Super Cup sees the winners of the Champions League face the winners of the Europa League, but the introduction of the Europa Conference League has sparked the idea of a four-team tournament to open the season. The three European Cup winners would need another opponent and the Guardian reveals that the MLS winners could be invited as football continues to grow in popularity in the United States.
Paper Round’s point of view: It’s an interesting idea but you already know the argument against it. This will mean more travel and more matches for players even before the start of the season. Maybe it could be accepted if it is considered part of pre-season but you know clubs will want to field a strong squad to try and win the tournament due to the money involved. Footballers don’t need to play more unnecessary games, especially with the seasons constantly getting longer.
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