Chelsea risk losing Antonio Rudiger to Manchester United but will not find out just yet, while Arsenal are in contact for a prolific Barcelona target – both in Friday’s Paper Talk.
RUDIGER MAKING MAN UTD WAIT
Manchester United will make a move for Antonio Rudiger in the summer, which is the only time the Chelsea defender will be willing to discuss his future.
Rudiger is out of contract at the end of the season after his fifth season at Stamford Bridge. He has grown into one of Europe’s finest centre-backs. Indeed, he was a key part of the Chelsea squad that won the Champions League last season.
A number of top clubs are queuing up for his signature if the Blues are unable to keep him. He has been linked with a move to the continent, where someone like Real Madrid or Paris Saint-Germain could sign him.
They are two of the few clubs of the appropriate stature to be able to afford Rudiger’s wage demands. According to the Daily Mirror, he knows he could earn up to £400,000 per week. At present, Chelsea are offering half that for him to renew.
The report claims that Man Utd are another team who could make an attempt to sign the Germany international. Their interim manager Ralf Rangnick is an admirer of the former Stuttgart centre-half.
The chance to sign him on a free transfer is appealing, when other targets could cost a lot of money. Instead, the only significant investment for Rudiger would be his wages.
According to the Mirror, interest in Rudiger would also mean doubts over the Man Utd future of their captain, Harry Maguire. His form has come into question in what has been a turbulent season at Old Trafford.
But the situation should only become more clear in the summer. The paper writes that Rudiger is focusing on Chelsea’s pursuit of further silverware before making any commitment over his future.
After winning the Club World Cup recently, Chelsea have a Carabao Cup final against Liverpool to look forward to at the weekend. They are also still in the FA Cup and are defending their Champions League trophy.
ARSENAL MAKE STRIKER CONTACT
Arsenal have touched base with the representatives of Alexander Isak, whose release clause they are trying to drive down.
That’s according to Spanish newspaper Diario Sport, who reveal Arsenal are ready to rival Barcelona for the Real Sociedad striker.
Isak is one of the high-profile centre-forwards who could be on the move in the summer. He has been identified by Barcelona as an alternative to Erling Haaland.
But Arsenal also need new strikers, faced with the risk of losing Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah as free agents. Isak is firmly on their radar.
Arsenal to go all out for Alexander Isak in the summer
After missing out on a striker in January, Arsenal are set to go all out for Alexander Isak in the summer.
According to Sport, they have made contact with Isak’s entourage to register an interest. However, negotiating with his current employers could be difficult.
La Real have Isak under a contract with an €80m release clause. They are sticking to that valuation, although could consider lower offers – as Arsenal want them to – given the Sweden international has not been as prolific recently.
Mikel Arteta has received glowing reports about Isak from his connections at Real Sociedad, whom he used to play for himself. But the striker’s preference would be to wait for Barcelona.
Therefore, it could be an uphill battle for Arsenal despite them making moves behind the scenes.
CONTE CONCERNS FOR TOTTENHAM
There are a number of claims about Tottenham Hotspur head coach Antonio Conte in Friday’s papers. His comments on Wednesday put his future at the club in doubt.
Conte claimed he may not be up to the task at Tottenham after their defeat to Burnley. As such, he would be willing to consider his future.
According to The Sun, though, Tottenham do not believe Conte will walk out on them now, just a few months after his appointment.
However, The Times warn that although that is the case, there is a fear that the Italian could step down in the summer.
And in consequence, some members of the Spurs squad are getting concerned about Conte’s public outbursts and the ensuing negativity.