Messi demands Barca sign Bayern star - Paper Round

Lionel Messi demands Barcelona sign Bayern Munich star, Chelsea close in on Jadon Sancho, Manchester United join battle for Barcelona defender and Pep Guardiola writes angry letter to the Premier League. It's Monday's Paper Round...


Messi ‘orders’ Barca to sign Bayern star

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Lionel Messi has reportedly "ordered" his club Barcelona to sign Joshua Kimmich from Bundesliga side Bayern Munich, according to the Star. The six-time Ballon d'Or winner wants the Catalan club to improve his supporting cast on the right-hand side of the pitch, with Messi "desperate" for the German to replace the current options of Nelson Semedo and Sergi Roberto at right-back. However, Bayern are said to be unlikely to entertain the idea of such an important player leaving during the season.
Paper Round's view: Kimmich is an unbelievable footballer. He would certainly fit the Barcelona style of play and has consistently shown his strengths lie at both ends of the pitch, offensively and defensively. Messi has been starved of a top-class right-back since Dani Alves left Barcelona back in 2016 and Kimmich could be the answer. There's no way Bayern would allow him to leave mid-season, but it could be an interesting transfer if Barca made an attempt to sign Kimmich next summer. The Bundesliga champions have seemed to be struggling over the past 18 months, so there's no way the 24-year-old could write off a move away from Munich.

Chelsea close in on £120m Sancho transfer

Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho is set to seal a move to Premier League club Chelsea in a transfer worth £120 million, according to the Sun. The England international has caught the attention of some of Europe's biggest clubs, but the west London side are ready to fight off domestic rivals Liverpool and Manchester United by showing their willingness to meet Dortmund's huge transfer valuation fee. Blues boss Frank Lampard is looking to replace the attacking prowess of Eden Hazard and owner Roman Abramovich is willing to splash the cash. Chelsea could replicate a similar agreement to the one last January with the German side, in which a transfer for Christian Pulisic was completed, but the American winger was loaned back to the Bundesliga for the remainder of the season.
Paper Round's view: It's no surprise that clubs are accepting that they will have to meet Dortmund's demands for Sancho. The 19-year-old is one of the brightest young prospects in world football at the moment, so the Bundesliga side know they can ask for £120m... and receive £120m. It was always likely that Sancho would return to the Premier League after taking the risk to leave Manchester City and search for first-team football back in 2017 and it has been widely reported that he was a childhood Chelsea supporter. The wonderkid would be a sensational signing for the London club and he could be a Stamford Bridge superstar for years to come.

United join battle to sign Barca youngster

Manchester United are said to be entering the race to sign Barcelona youngster Jean-Clair Todibo, according to the Mail. The French Under-20 international joined Barcelona back in January this year, but has failed to break in to the first team, making just five senior appearances. Todibo has caught the eye of multiple European clubs, including Inter Milan, Bayer Leverkusen and Everton - as well as United. However, the Red Devils are reluctant to meet the 19-year-old's price tag, which is thought to be around £17 million. Additionally, Barcelona want to add in a buy-back clause if Todibo were to leave, which Manchester United wouldn't want to include in any potential deal.
Paper Round's view: £17 million is a massive fee for a teenager who has only made five appearances since signing for just £2 million less than a year ago. Yes, the fee was made considerably cheaper due to the fact that Todibo only had six months left on his contract at Toulouse, but the versatile defender has hardly made waves at the Nou Camp. The club officials at Barcelona are aware of Todibo's talent, which is why they want to add in a buy-back clause if he leaves, but if he's really that good they should just try and give him more game time. Also, United should really be looking for a much more experienced player if they are wanting to sign someone who can make a difference in their shoddy defence.

Pep pens letter to Premier League over festive fixtures

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has revealed he has written a letter to the Premier League to "voice his anger" at the decision to make his team play two matches in less than 48 hours during the festive period. City travel to Wolves on Friday 27 December for a 19:45 kick off, before hosting Sheffield United, who are currently unbeaten on the road in the league this season, on Sunday 29 December at 18:00. City officials are worried that the scheduling favours league leaders Liverpool, who get an extra day's rest between their Christmas fixtures and also face Wolves at 16:30 on Sunday 29 December. Guardiola believes Wolves will be more fatigued for their trip to Anfield after facing his own side less than two days earlier.
Paper Round's view: It's difficult to deny that the Christmas fixtures in the Premier League are a farce. It's traditional and it's fun for fans to watch, but it is relentless for the footballers and the staff involved. The quality of football around the back end of the festive period takes a serious hit every season due to situations like this when clubs are forced to play two matches in less than two days. Guardiola has a right to be angry in this situation, especially as his side attempt to chase down Liverpool, but realistically it's a wider issue that needs to be addressed by the Premier League and the television companies. No Premier League club benefits from playing so many matches in such a small time frame.

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