Dortmund eye Martial as Haaland replacement
Borussia Dortmund have already started planning for life without Erling Haaland, with the 21-year-old expected to leave the Westfalenstadion next summer. Haaland is said to have a £75-million release clause, which becomes active in 2022, and is wanted by the biggest clubs in European football. The Mirror reveal that Dortmund have set their eyes on out-of-favour Manchester United forward Anthony Martial to replace Haaland. However, the Bundesliga club have reportedly set their budget for a Haaland replacement at £25-35 million, which could mean they are out-priced in their pursuit of Martial, who is valued at over £40 million by United.
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Paper Round’s view: £40 million for Martial is a bit optimistic. His transfer value is rapidly decreasing due to his poor form. A move away from Old Trafford is probably needed to resurrect his career, but it will be difficult if United are holding out for such a big transfer fee. It’s promising that Dortmund are already looking for Haaland replacements though. The German side are a well-run club and they have already signed promising Dutch forward Donyell Malen this summer, which gives him time to bed in. Martial might not be the best fit, but there’s still plenty of time to identify a decent replacement before next summer.
Man City turn attention away from Kane
Manchester City are ready to turn their attention away from Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane and have reportedly identified an alternative forward. The Mirror report that the Premier League champions have added Napoli striker Victor Osimhen to their shortlist. The Nigerian international still has three years remaining on his contract with the Serie A leaders and he has not got a release clause. Osimhen has previously attracted interest from Liverpool and Manchester United.
Paper Round’s view: Osimhen is a top, top forward but it’s not going to be any easier to negotiate with Napoli than it was with Spurs for Kane last summer. Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis is just as stubborn as Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy and the situation is more or less the same. Multiple years left remaining on Osimhen’s contract and no release clause. Why would Napoli let him leave? Manchester City need to forget about Kane and Osimhen and simply just go all out for Erling Haaland once his release clause becomes active this summer.
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Liverpool and Barca scouting in Portugal
The Independent take a closer look at the gems being uncovered at Portuguese clubs and the fact that the Champions League is used to take a closer look at these young stars. The report specifically identifies Porto duo Luis Diaz and Fabio Vieira, who have attracted the attention of Europe’s top clubs after impressing at the Estadio do Dragao. Liverpool are said to hold “long-term” interest in Vieira, who won Player of the Tournament at the Under-21 Euros, and will have had a closer look at the 21-year-old during their Champions League clash on Tuesday evening.
Paper Round’s view: Champions League matches are always a good test for young players. We’ve seen plenty of talented youngsters make their name in the elite European competition, including the then-Red Bull Salzburg striker Erling Haaland in the 2019-20 edition. Liverpool have been tracking Vieira as part of their “long-term scouting”, but actually coming up against the 21-year-old is a unique way of getting a better idea of their quality. Vieira actually managed to record an assist off the bench in Porto’s 5-1 defeat. Cristiano Ronaldo was signed by Manchester United from Sporting Lisbon after a similar situation so you never know…
Gallagher ‘on the verge’ of England call-up
The Sun reveal that on-loan Crystal Palace midfielder Conor Gallagher is “on the verge” of an England call-up ahead of the October international break. The 21-year-old, who is spending a season-long loan in south London from Chelsea, has impressed for Palace so far this campaign. Gallagher has notched two goals and three assists in just five appearances for the Eagles and is said to be on the radar of England boss Gareth Southgate. The Three Lions face Andorra and Hungary in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers next month.
Paper Round’s view: It’s exciting to see another bright England prospect grab his chance with both hands. Gallagher has shone during previous loan spells with Charlton Athletic, Swansea City and West Bromwich Albion – but he is now proving he is definitely Premier League quality. It’s not a position that England are lacking in depth so it wouldn’t hurt to keep him in the under-21s for a little longer, but it’s encouraging that both Southgate and his number two Steve Holland are keeping an eye on his development at Selhurst Park.
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