February 4, 2023
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Real Madrid prepare bid for Manchester United transfer target Cody Gakpo, Arsenal face competition for Mykhaylo Mudryk

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Real Madrid enter race to sign Gakpo

Premier League duo Manchester United and Newcastle United have been rocked in their pursuit of Netherlands’ breakout World Cup star Cody Gakpo. The Mirror report that Real Madrid have joined the race to sign the highly-rated 23-year-old. Manchester United contemplated signing Gakpo last summer, before buying Antony from Ajax, but they have now reignited their interest in the PSV Eindhoven forward after Cristiano Ronaldo departed Old Trafford. Real Madrid are reportedly “preparing a bid” for the youngster and PSV are ready to demand a “record fee” in January.

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Paper Round’s view: This is a transfer battle that Manchester United need to win. Gakpo has not only impressed at the World Cup, but he has been the key man for PSV so far this campaign. He has shown his quality on the world stage and United are desperate for a forward-striker hybrid player to come and slot into their starting eleven. Real Madrid probably need to add some attacking depth to their squad, but Gakpo could become a key player at Old Trafford. If he wants to play more minutes, he should join his compatriot Erik ten Hag and try to help United return to their former glory.

Arsenal face fierce competition for Mudryk

Arsenal will face competition in their bid to sign Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhaylo Mudryk, according to the Mail. The Gunners are not the only club interested in the Ukraine international, but Shakhtar have reportedly stated that no formal offers have been received thus far. Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is keen to add some more quality to his squad to help sustain their ambitious Premier League title challenge. However, Shakhtar president Rinat Akhmetov is said to have the “final say on any possible transfer” and has demanded £85 million for his prized asset.

Paper Round’s view: It seems like it could be a case of Shakhtar leaking that there are multiple clubs interested in Mudryk in a bid to get Arsenal to meet their asking price. £85 million is a huge amount of money to spend on a player and it seems unlikely that the north London club will spend that in January. However, Arsenal do need to add some attacking depth to their squad following the injury to Gabriel Jesus at the World Cup. The big question is: should the Gunners switch their focus to signing a centre-forward instead of another winger? The answer is probably: yes.

Chelsea line up Broja replacement

Chelsea have swooped in ahead of Brighton to complete the signing of David Datro Fofana from Molde in the January transfer window, according to the Telegraph. The seaside club had held talks with the 19-year-old striker, but Fofana is expected to join Chelsea for more than £8 million. The Ivory Coast international’s immediate role at Stamford Bridge is unclear, but the Blues were keen to find a replacement for Armando Broja – who suffered a knee ligament injury and was ruled out for the remainder of the current campaign.

Paper Round’s view: Brighton must be getting sick of Chelsea now. The west London club poached defender Marc Cucurella during the summer, took their manager Graham Potter in September, then raided Paul Winstanley from their recruitment team before now swooping in to sign Fofana. The teenager striker has already scored 15 goals in 24 league matches for Molde this season and could definitely play the role as a back-up striker due to Broja’s injury. Chelsea can’t really afford to loan him out immediately… unless they are still in the market for another centre-forward in the winter window.

Rabiot on Barca’s radar

World Cup finalist Adrien Rabiot is expected to leave Juventus when his current contract expires at the end of the season – and Spanish media outlet Sport reveal that he has been offered to Barcelona. The 27-year-old was wanted by the Catalan club when he left Paris Saint-Germain as a free agent back in 2019, but Rabiot settled on moving to Turin. The France midfielder is seeking a new challenge at club level and “would welcome a move” to Barcelona – who are on red alert for any free transfers next summer. A number of Premier League clubs and PSG are also interested in signing Rabiot.

Paper Round’s view: Rabiot’s time at Juventus was pretty much a bust until this season. He was given a run the side and performed well – which was perfect timing ahead of the World Cup. It’s funny how things change. Rabiot was being slated when he was in negotiations with Manchester United in the summer and now he is likely to start in a World Cup final for France. Barcelona makes sense. They are always in the market for free transfers (even if they don’t always work out). It’s a clever way to add quality depth to your squad without spending transfer fees… but the huge wages can come back to bite you.

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