Manchester United plot shock move for Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger amid Harry Maguire doubts – Paper Round

Rudiger in, Maguire out?

Manchester United have entered the race to sign Antonio Rudiger from Premier League rivals Chelsea this summer. The 28-year-old is nearing the end of his current contract at Stamford Bridge and is yet to make a concrete decision on his future. Rudiger is aware he can demand a salary of around £400,000 a week if he joins a top European club and Chelsea are currently only filing a contract worth half of that. The Mirror reveal Manchester United are keen to add Rudiger to their squad in a bid to add leadership amid doubts over club captain Harry Maguire’s future at Old Trafford. Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain are also interested in signing Rudiger this summer.

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Paper Round’s point of view: Rudiger has proven himself as one of the best centre-backs in world football since Thomas Tuchel took over in west London just over a year ago. Chelsea’s system suits him perfectly and he has every right to demand a pay rise. It’s going to cost Chelsea a lot more to replace Rudiger so they need to be more flexible in their negotiations or else the German will walk for free this summer. This means bad news for Maguire. His form this season has been poor and he is in the left centre-back role – just like Rudiger. It wouldn’t be the best decision to completely ignore the £80million defender after a poor season. Perhaps the pair could work together in a back three alongside Raphael Varane.

Mbappe offered a ‘blank cheque’ to stay in Paris

Kylian Mbappe has reportedly been offered a record-breaking contract extension to stay with Paris Saint-Germain. The World Cup winner is fast approaching the expiration of his contract at the Parc des Princes this summer and the Ligue 1 leaders are desperate to keep him. Marca report that PSG handed Mbappe a ‘blank check renewal offer’, which was actually rejected by the 23-year-old. The extension was an attempt to keep Mbappe for another two years, but would give him the option to leave after the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The French striker is closing in on a successful summer move to Real Madrid, who are said to be on a smaller contract.

Paper Round’s point of view: It’s clear that PSG are desperate to retain Mbappe, but it looks more and more unlikely every day. Mbappe would surely have signed a contract extension by now if he was ready to stay with the Parisians. It’s refreshing to see that he doesn’t allow his career to be determined by finances – even though he won’t be on the penny at Real Madrid. The most interesting part of the report was the fact that PSG were ready to allow him to leave after the Qatar World Cup later this year. The Ligue 1 leaders are a Qatar-backed club, so they probably wanted to keep the most marketable players in the French capital ahead of the World Cup. But what does this mean for PSG in the future?

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Lukaku stays and fights for Chelsea spot

Romelu Lukaku has decided to stay at Stamford Bridge and fight for his starting spot at Chelsea. The Belgian striker joined west Londoners from Inter Milan last summer for a record fee of £97.5million. However, his poor form – combined with a controversial interview with the Italian media before Christmas – has raised doubts over Lukaku’s future at Chelsea. Reports have linked the 28-year-old with a shock return to Inter, but the Mirror reveal Lukaku is ‘desperate’ to win back his place in the Chelsea squad after Thomas Tuchel recently replaced him with the striker Champions League final Kai Havertz.

Paper Round’s point of view: Lukaku’s historic comeback didn’t quite go as he would have hoped. The former Manchester United striker had a point to prove when he returned to the Premier League and he did little to change the opinions of his doubters. Lukaku has absolutely dominated defenses in Serie A and he was integral to Inter’s league title last year. Perhaps it’s the style of play under Tuchel that doesn’t match his main traits. While it’s disconcerting to see Chelsea hoard nearly £100m on a striker and not play to their strengths, Lukaku must show he’s ready to adapt. He has plenty of time left this season to prove the haters wrong.

Chelsea pursue unwanted Barca star

Chelsea will relaunch their pursuit of Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele this summer. The World Cup winner is available to sign for free when his Camp Nou contract expires in June and Chelsea have already started negotiations with Dembele’s representatives. The west London club were also eyeing Bayern Munich’s Serge Gnabry but turned their attention to Dembele due to him not commanding a transfer fee. The 24-year-old wanted to stay at Barcelona but the Catalan club can’t afford to meet his salary demands. Dembele has also attracted interest from Manchester United and Juventus.

Paper Round’s point of view: It seems strange that Chelsea are planning to add another striker to their squad. The Blues already have Christian Pulisic, Timo Werner, Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz to occupy the wide areas. Perhaps the club is planning potential summer releases. The fact that Dembele is available for free and has already worked successfully under Thomas Tuchel at Borussia Dortmund helps the decision make a bit more sense. It’s hard to pass up this kind of opportunity. Let’s remember that Dembele was once considered a £135m player. It’s weird that Paris Saint-Germain aren’t interested in him. The Frenchman could be a solid addition for the Ligue 1 leaders if Kylian Mbappe leaves this summer.

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