Paper Round: United launch £300m bid as Real Madrid superstar to join Neymar
Neymar is linked with Manchester United once again as talk of a clearout at Old Trafford gathers pace amid miserable home results. It's Thursday's Paper Round.
Blind returning to Ajax...
The Sun reports on Thursday that Dutchman Daley Blind will return to Ajax this summer after an underwhelming season with Manchester United.
Blind has struggled for game time under Jose Mourinho despite a promising start at the club, playing in defence rather than his favoured midfield.
With just a year left on the 27-year-old’s contract, Ajax are said to be keen to make a firm bid if no new contract negotiations seem forthcoming from United.
...To make room for La Liga stars?
That’s right, the Neymar rumours aren’t going away, and in fact apparently they’re getting bigger still.
Neymar is said to have considered the Premier League last season, with itchy feet at Camp Nou, while United have tried to woo Welshman Bale in the past, alas to no avail.
However, with a considerable wedge of cash behind them, the newspaper claims the deals, which would cost in the region of £300 million, could now happen - although they would have to be spread over two summers.
Gareth Bale was previously a target of Manchesterr United, reportedlyReuters
Paper Round’s view: Having suffered their worst run of home games of the Premier League era under Mourinho, United are left wondering once again what they have to do to get back to the Ferguson glory days.
Most likely the response will be to throw money at the problem in the transfer window, and United are a club where we could expect to see changes. We doubt Mourinho would miss Blind very much, having only started him in half the club’s league games, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see him go.
As for Neymar and Bale, oh leave it out.
Shaw breaks silence over Mourinho criticism
Meanwhile beleaguered Manchester United defender Luke Shaw has broken his silence on Jose Mourinho’s less than flattering comments about him, after a home draw with West Brom on Saturday.
Responding to Mourinho’s suggestion that he was way behind other left-backs and questioning his commitment, Shaw said he would fight to the end for his club.
He said: "But I'm keeping my head up and I'm going to fight to the last. I'm not going to give up. I love this club and I'll give everything to be here. I'm working really hard at the moment — now more than ever."
Paper Round’s view: It’s hard not to feel a bit sorry for Luke Shaw, who played a decent game after being subbed on in Tuesday night’s draw between United and Everton. But now even Phil Neville wants to get in on the debate, saying there must be something “fundamentally wrong” with the 21-year-old to be publicly called out by Mourinho.
Except this isn’t Mourinho’s first rodeo, is it? In fact it’s not even the first time Mourinho’s publicly attacked Shaw.
Ranieri at Stamford Bridge
The biggest non-story going into Thursday’s papers was the spotting of former Leicester boss, Claudio Ranieri, in the stands at Stamford Bridge during Chelsea’s match against Manchester City on Wednesday night.
Suffice to say in the collection of photos selected by the Daily Star, Ranieri looked a little dejected, despite his ex-club’s victory.
Paper Round’s view: We have very little to say about this, if we’re honest, but it was a slow news night. Sometimes managers watch their old teams play – the ghost of United past can often be found at Old Trafford keeping a beady eye on proceedings.
Of course Ranieri has slightly less grounds to feel smug than Sir Alex Ferguson. But what was Ranieri up to in London, we wonder…?