Wanted: A striker
Manchester United will be considering their options after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted the club may look at short-term deals in light of Marcus Rashford’s injury. With Rashford out for up to three months with a stress fracture in his back, Solskjaer is light on options up front. The Evening Standard reports that Jadon Sancho remains a leading target, while The Sun has reported Lautaro Martinez is flattered to have been linked with United (and Manchester City) but is “calm, happy and at ease with Inter”. The Sun reported last week that PSG striker Edinson Cavani was open to joining United, while Manchester Evening News said the club could go in for Lyon’s Moussa Dembele.
Video – Solskjaer confirms Rashford stress fracture and hints at emergency signings
Paper Round’s view: United’s decision not to replace Romelu Lukaku is coming back to haunt them now, with a sizeable chunk of the season left to play, too. Rashford was hitting form just as United’s top-four push was gathering momentum, but their defeat at Liverpool without the England international highlighted their weakness up front, particularly when Anthony Martial fired a glorious chance wildly wide when trailing 1-0. Forget a short-term replacement, United need someone in for the long-haul. January’s a tough time to do it, but they require someone capable of leading their challenge for the Champions League places so they can go on to attract the very best in the summer.
Spurs turn to Slimani
With Harry Kane potentially out for the season, Tottenham’s striker search has seen them turn to Leicester’s Islam Slimani, the Telegraph reports. Slimani is currently on loan at Monaco, but that spell could be cut short if Spurs come in for the Algerian, who is also attracting interest from Aston Villa. Spurs have also been linked with Krzysztof Piatek, Edinson Cavani and Fernando Llorente this month.
Paper Round’s view: Plenty of names being banded around for Spurs, but it’s never easy in the January transfer window, and less so now Manchester United are set to start looking now.
Video – Barca face competition for Serie A wonderkid – Euro Papers
PSG open Neymar talks
Paris Saint-Germain have opened contract extension talks with Neymar’s representatives, Telefoot reports – via the Daily Mail. Despite Neymar’s attempts to leave PSG last summer, the French champions are hopeful the Brazilian will extend his stay in France. However, that could well depend on their fortunes in the Champions League.
Paper Round’s view: Neymar is halfway through his initial five-year contract at PSG, but has seemingly been itching to leave ever since he signed on the dotted line. It would be a surprise if Neymar stayed beyond this year, never mind 2022, but as the report suggests, he would have a good reason to stay if PSG can finally triumph in Europe.
Koulibaly to PSG?
Staying with PSG, the Daily Mail is also reporting that the Ligue 1 leaders are leading the chase for long-term Manchester United target Kalidou Koulibaly. PSG will look to lure the Napoli centre-back to France by offering him a £10.2m-a-year salary, which equates to around £200,000 a week. United’s interest in Koulibaly has been longstanding, with Real Madrid and Manchester City also linked with the 28-year-old.
Paper Round’s view: Barely a week (day?) goes by without Koulibaly’s name featuring in gossip columns across Europe. He’s now in his sixth season at Napoli without being snapped up by a larger European club. A long time. Are Napoli pricing suitors out? Or do these persistent rumours have little substance? A combination of the two, you would think.