Manchester United contacts Barcelona over Sergino Dest, Manchester City identify alternative Marc Cucurella – Paper Round

Ten Hag is looking forward to another (ex-)Ajax reunion at Old Trafford

Manchester United are hoping to strengthen as a right-back and have asked for Barcelona defender Sergino Dest, according to Spanish media outlet Sport. The 21-year-old has struggled for consistent matches at the Camp Nou since returning in 2020 and his future at Barca remains “uncertain”. The Blaugrana have been linked with Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta, who could open the door to Dest’s exit. Barca would demand at least 20 million euros and United boss Erik ten Hag is a fan of the former right back of Ajax.

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Paper Round’s opinion: It could be another reunion in Manchester. United have already taken over Lisandro Martinez from Ajax and have previously been linked with the likes of Frenkie de Jong, Brian Brobbey and Jurrien Timber, who have all spent time at or are still with the Amsterdam club. Knowing a player personally will of course help identify transfer targets, but United will run into trouble if things don’t go well with Ten Hag. The Manchester club really puts all eggs in Ten Hag’s basket in the summer transfer window.

Man City identifies Cucurella alternative

Manchester City have halted the pursuit of Brighton defender Marc Cucurella and have made inquiries about Anderlecht left-back Sergio Gomez. The Premier League champions were in pole position to sign Cucurella but were put off by Brighton’s £50m asking price and now Chelsea have hijacked the transfer. City are now hunting Gomez in a bid to bolster the full-back after letting Oleksandr Zinchenko leave for Arsenal earlier in the summer transfer window.

Paper Round’s opinion: Manchester City are currently very short as a fullback. Zinchenko has gone, leaving Kyle Walker, Joao Cancelo and perhaps Nathan Ake as their one and only full-backs in the squad. It looked like they were going to sign Cucurella, but they actually decided not to meet Brighton’s huge demands. Gomez might be a deal done quickly. The Barcelona academy graduate is represented by Pep Guardiola’s brother Pere, so he could even complete his move ahead of the Premier League opening weekend.

Newcastle’s summer plans at a standstill

Newcastle United have seen their latest offer for James Maddison rejected by Leicester City. The Guardian confirm that The Magpies have submitted a bid of £45million plus £5million in add-ons, but Leicester are expecting around £60million for the midfielder. The report also reveals Newcastle are interested in Maddison’s Leicester team-mate Harvey Barnes, who is also valued at £60m, and Burnley winger Maxwel Cornet, who has a £17.5m release clause.

Paper Round’s opinion: Newcastle have made some smart and impressive transfers so far this summer. Nick Pope, Sven Botman and Matt Targett have all signed up for the ambitious project brewing in St James’ Park. Maddison, however, would mean something new for Newcastle. Signing a luxury attacking player from another Premier League club for a dazzling £60million fee would reveal Newcastle’s real intent. The Tyneside club are hoping to weaken their rivals and be part of the group chasing the top six in the Premier League.

Ronaldo starts season on the bench

The Sun reveals Cristiano Ronaldo will start the Premier League season as a substitute for Manchester United. The 37-year-old has only played 45 minutes of pre-season after missing out on the Bangkok and Australia club tour for family reasons. United’s new manager Erik ten Hag believes Ronaldo’s condition is not up to par and is reportedly looking to stay with Jadon Sancho, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford after the trio impressed during pre-season.

Paper Round’s opinion: This was to be expected. You wouldn’t think a player in the prime of the season would be ready to start the first Premier League game of the season after just 45 minutes of preparation, so why would a 37-year-old Ronaldo be ready? The report labels Ronaldo’s deputy status as “humiliating”, but it’s just realistic. Perhaps he can offer his side an effective Plan B if he gets his chance from the bench against Brighton on Sunday.

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