Barça after Auba
Barcelona are monitoring Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s exile at Arsenal and are considering an attempt to sign him on loan next month, mail reports
. The striker is training on his own after being stripped of his captain position at Arsenal, and he is unlikely to play before venturing to the Africa Cup of Nations for Gabon. Barca are said to be keen on loaning him out, but his £ 350,000 a week salary could prove to be a powerful stumbling block, while the Mail also reported Juventus could join the race
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Paper Round’s point of view: Ah the old £ 350,000 a week wage problem. This Barca can’t afford, so it could be a question of whether Arsenal are willing to send him and cover the costs. Aubameyang’s entire contract is a problem, indeed. He runs until 2023, and unless a club takes him away, we could have another undesirable situation at Arsenal – as if it wasn’t bad enough already.
Or… Cavani at Barça?
Sergio Aguero’s retirement means Barcelona are also considering signing Edinson Cavani in the January window, The Sun reports
. Ralf Rangnick is reportedly keen to work with Cavani, who has not shown an interest in leaving United next month, but Barca’s serious interest could shake things up given the Uruguayan doesn’t play much at Old Trafford.
Paper Round’s point of view: Obviously Barca are looking for a short-term solution to losing Aguero, and so it’s Aubameyang, 32, or Cavani, 34. In fairness, they would both do a job, but that would only be a temporary fix.
Lingard will wait for summer
Jesse Lingard is expected to spend the rest of the season at Manchester United before considering his options, the Telegraph reports
. The midfielder returned to Old Trafford after a successful loan spell with West Ham in the second half of the 2020-21 campaign, but he was unable to find his way into the first team’s plans – first under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, then Michael Carrick and Ralf Rangnick. His contract expires at the end of the season, and although he’s linked with a January return to West Ham, he may well wait.
Paper Round’s point of view: It’s a shame Lingard’s progress has been hampered by his return to Manchester United. He looked like a reborn player at West Ham, got a callback in England and seemed to enjoy his football again. He obviously loves Manchester United, but for the sake of his career it’s time to move on – it’s just a shame he’s waiting until the end of the season.
The Man Utd DM hunt in January
Manchester United are set to sign a starting midfielder in the January transfer window, according to Manchester Evening News
. Ralf Rangnick’s preference for a ‘double six’ – two starting midfielders – means the club are likely to back him in the mid-season window, with competition for Fred, Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic required . RB Leipzig midfielder Amadou Haidara is on United’s radar and is set to compete in the Africa Cup of Nations with Mali next month.
Paper Round’s point of view: Nothing surprising here, but the prospect of signing a new midfielder could prove tricky. Clubs will charge high prices, as is the case in January, while others will be reluctant to lose players at this point in the season. If their top picks aren’t available, United will have to ask how far they go before deciding to wait for the summer.
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