Raheem Sterling, Dani Olmo, Ferran Torres, Jose Gaya: Barcelona’s shortlist for January transfer window – Paper Round

Xavi makes plans for the winter transfer window

Xavi is preparing for his first transfer window at the helm of Barcelona and the Mail reveal that the Catalan club have four players on their winter wishlist. Barca boss has made RB Leipzig forward Dani Olmo his “priority” signing for January. The former academy product is said to be eager to return to his childhood club, which could help with negotiations. Barcelona are also ambitiously targeting Manchester City’s Ferran Torres, but see Raheem Sterling as a backup option on loan. Finally, Xavi sees Valencia left-back Jose Gaya as someone who can be a leader for his team and can use Jordi Alba as a burden in any potential deal.


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Paper Round’s point of view: The next two transfer windows are going to be huge for Barcelona as they undergo a rebuild. Xavi will want to bring in players who he thinks will work for him, but the club’s finances could constrain him. They’re highly unlikely to make three big-name signings in January, but just one could be a game-changer. Obviously, Olmo is the primary target, but he would charge a hefty transfer fee. It looks like Barca need to target loans, free transfers and bargains. Olmo, Torres and Gaya could be out of reach… but a loan for Sterling could be a successful signing.

Man Utd crisis talks ahead of Watford

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is said to have had “crisis talks” with his senior Manchester United players on Thursday ahead of their unmissable fixture against Watford. The pressured manager spoke to Harry Maguire, Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes, Luke Shaw, Victor Lindelof and Nemanja Matic to discuss how their season can be saved and their thoughts on the tactical move to a third. Solskjaer has continued to receive support from club officials but it is reported that he could be in trouble if his side do not get a result at Vicarage Road this weekend.

Paper Round’s point of view: It’s the crisis at Manchester United. Solskjaer is underperforming in his role and has not won any trophies since taking over in 2019. The club have continued to support him in the transfer market and the summer signings of Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane have put even more pressure on the Norwegian boss. The big question is: who can replace Solskjaer? The lack of workable options is probably the only thing keeping him in his role right now. If he fails to win a trophy this season, it will surely spell the end of his time at United.

Rodgers: Man Utd links ‘are not real’

Lingard to leave Man Utd in January

Jesse Lingard has decided not to extend his contract at Manchester United, with the Mail saying the England international “has no plans to reopen negotiations” with his childhood club. Lingard will demand to leave Old Trafford as early as January and plans to leave on a short-term loan before his contract expires this summer. The 28-year-old may open talks with foreign clubs during a summer move in January and he has already caught the attention of European giants Barcelona and AC Milan. A representative from Lingard’s camp is said to have visited Spain last week to survey potential clubs.

Paper Round’s point of view: It is a courageous decision by Lingard. He’s been at Manchester United for 22 years so it will be very difficult for him to leave. However, it will be a big decision for his career. We’ve all seen how he stormed the Premier League on his short-term loan from West Ham United last season. There’s a quality player in there, but he doesn’t seem to have a chance at Old Trafford – even despite their recent and well-documented struggles. A fresh start would be ideal for Lingard and a move abroad would be very intriguing.

Conte identifies long-term replacement for Lloris

Tottenham Hotspur plan to target Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford as new manager Antonio Conte starts planning for the club’s future. Club captain Hugo Lloris is approaching 35 and his current contract will expire at the end of the season. Spurs aren’t ruling out extending the French stopper’s deal, but the Telegraph reveals Conte wants to sign a local goalkeeper as his long-term replacement. Pickford is Tottenham’s main target and it is likely that Everton will demand more fees than the £ 25million they paid for him when he joined Sunderland in 2017.

Paper Round’s point of view: Pickford is a top-level goalkeeper and he proved it with his impressive performances for England in their run to the Euro 2020 final last summer. However, for reasons unknown, his club form rarely reflects his international performances, which could mean he would be willing to move on to try and resolve this issue. Playing under Conte would be a huge draw for Pickford and he would appreciate the opportunity to play for a club trying to fight for a place in the Premier League top four. He would be a superb signing for Spurs.


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