Real Madrid target Xabi Alonso as heir to Carlo Ancelotti, Manchester City eye £85m Josko Gvardiol deal – Paper Round


The heir to Ancelotti’s throne

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is willing to stick with Carlo Ancelotti in the dugout for one more campaign, despite Los Blancos’ embarrassing 4-0 defeat at Manchester City in the Champions League semi-final second leg. The Spanish club have considered alternatives in Jose Mourinho and Zinedine Zidane, but believe neither would be realistic options to replace Ancelotti this summer.

Perez believes there is a “lack of serious alternatives” this summer and is eyeing up a move for Bayer Leverkusen boss Xabi Alonso next year, after the former Real Madrid midfielder stated he would be staying with the Bundesliga club for the 2023-24 campaign.


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The Mail reveals: “Real Madrid have two young coaches working in the club’s youth system but Perez is not convinced B-team coach Raul is the right choice and under-18s coach Alvaro Arbeloa needs to be promoted before he gets the big job.

“There are two managers from Madrid’s recent past that might be options. But Jose Mourinho is wanted by Paris Saint Germain and would split opinion if he arrived. And Zinedine Zidane prefers the idea of taking charge of the French national team over a third return to the club he has already left twice as a coach.

“If Perez lets Ancelotti see out his contract it gives him one more year to persuade Alonso, and he could also give Arbeloa the number two position priming him as another candidate for the top job.”

Man City eye £85m Gvardiol deal

Manchester City are lining up an £85-million move for RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol. City boss Pep Guardiola is keen to sign his long-term target in a bid to strengthen his defensive options, especially as Gvardiol can offer left-back cover. The move for the 21-year-old could end Aymeric Laporte’s spell at the Etihad Stadium as City’s other centre-back options include John Stones, Ruben Dias, Manuel Akanji and Nathan Ake.

The Sun reports: “Pep Guardiola is a long-term admirer of the Croatian World Cup defender. He got a close up view when the two teams met in this season’s Champions League Round of 16 and his view remains the same.

“They could firm up their interest if any defenders decide to leave City and seek a new challenge this summer. Aymeric Laporte is the most likely to go after falling down the pecking order following the arrival of Manuel Akanji in August.

“Leipzig have maintained their defender – who has a release clause of around £98million until 2024 – is not for sale. However it is believed a bid in the region of £85m could bring them to the table due to their money worries.”

Toney linked with Brentford exit despite ban

Ivan Toney could be set for a Brentford exit, despite being given an eight-month ban for 232 breaches of strict Football Association rules on players placing bets. A number of top Premier League sides are willing to test Brentford’s resolve as Toney’s contract ends in 2025 and it is unknown whether he would be willing to sign an extension. Toney could move in January – when his ban ends – or may even secure a transfer this summer.

The Mirror confirms: “Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United are all admirers of the Brentford striker who has scored 20 goals in 33 games this season.

“They may even consider making offers before the January window to try and sign him up ahead of rival clubs. He can play again from January 16 but will be able to train with his club again from September.

“Brentford know Toney’s contract is running down and may have been tempted to sell this summer but this ban has not killed his chances of a move.”

Loftus-Cheek in talks with Milan

Chelsea are in negotiations with AC Milan over the sale of academy graduate Ruben Loftus-Cheek. The 27-year-old has failed to push on at Stamford Bridge since suffering a devastating achilles injury in 2019 and the Blues are willing to part with Loftus-Cheek this summer as the club needs to sell some fringe players from their bloated squad.

The Guardian reports: “Loftus-Cheek is a priority target for Milan as they push to rebuild their midfield. The England international’s contract has one year to run and a transfer would suit both parties.

“Chelsea need to trim their squad after spending heavily under the ownership of Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital.”


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