ENGLAND’s top clubs currently find it almost impossible to prise the world’s top talent from Spain’s big clubs, Real Madrid and Barcelona, so Chelsea will be hardly thrilled to hear whispers that one they DID manage to grab – Pedro – is apparently ready to scuttle back home!
And to rub in the bleak trend, there is talk that a new bid by Manchester United to take Neymar to Old Trafford is doomed to fail because Barca are ready to offer him a fabulous new deal to stay. How fabulous? Try £500,000-a-week!
It’s eye-watering stuff. And there is a lot more besides in this Thursday episode of whispers and winks – all with our unique guide to the credibility of the stories on offer…
CHELSEA forward Pedro (pictured), 28, has told friends he regrets moving to the club from Spanish giants Barcelona in the summer and would be happy to return to the Nou Camp club.
(Fichajes via Daily Express) 10/10 It would be astonishing if he did not have regrets – but should he be saying it? Even to “friends”.
Manchester United’s hope of signing Barcelona forward Neymar will be thwarted by the Spanish club offering the Brazilian a £500,000-a-week deal and making the 23-year-old the third highest player in the world behind team-mate Lionel Messi and Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo.
(Sun – subscription required) 9/10 Sound familiar. Be honest, it would be staggering if United were not “thwarted” by one of Spain’s big two…. they’ve been doing it all year!
Everton striker Romelu Lukaku’s agent, Mino Raiola, claims Toffees manager Roberto Martinez says the 22-year-old Belgium international can leave if a “good offer” comes in for him. He has been linked with Paris St-Germain.
(Radio Monte Carlo via Daily Mail) 6/10 Lukaku should concentrate on being the best centre forward he can be.
Chelsea striker Loic Remy, 28, has urged the club not to sack manager Jose Mourinho, despite the Stamford Bridge side’s struggles so far this season.
(London Evening Standard) 6/10 Nice sentiment… but is it already too late?
Former Chelsea keeper Carlo Cudicini says Mourinho deserves time to turn around the champions’ fortunes.
(Talksport) 10/10 As the manager who won the Premier League only five months ago, this is spot on.
Guus Hiddink has turned up the heat on Mourinho, who is sweating on Diego Costa’s fitness against Liverpool. Hiddink, who is out of work after being sacked by Holland in June, said: “Top class football is always attractive.”
(Daily Star) 9/10 Hmmm…just doesn’t seem so lovely for Jose at present.
Arsenal and Manchester United will have to pay at least £29m if they want Bayer Leverkusen’s 21-year-old Turkish attacking midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu, who has also been linked with Atletico Madrid and Barcelona.
(Daily Express) 5/10 Put a marker down for next summer.
Anderlecht youngster Aaron Leya Iseka, 18, is set to be Arsenal’s number one target for the January transfer window.
(TuttoMercatoWeb via Daily Star) 6/10 Another one to bolster the squad – and a further dampener for home-grown kids in the academy.
Former Chelsea playmaker Gianfranco Zola, currently manager of Qatari club Al Arabi, is interested in signing central defender John Terry, 34, from his old club but says no contact has been made.
(London Evening Standard) 8/10 Correct but don’t expect the aging skipper to walk just yet.
Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has been impressed by Sevilla midfielder Ever Banega this season and, having seen him in action in a Champions League group game between the two sides, is set to make a move for the 27-year-old Argentine.
(Sun – subscription required) 3/10 Pellegrini has other – bigger – fish to fry.
Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney, 30, should think about dropping into a deeper role if he wants to prolong his career, according to ex-Barcelona midfielder Xavi, 35.
(FourFourTwo) He has a point… but surely not just yet?
Former Manchester United coach Rene Meulensteen says Rooney’s impact is being “restricted” by the tactics of the club’s manager Louis van Gaal.
(Talksport) 9/10 Whisper it quietly…LVG doesn’t like talking about Rooney’s struggle for form.
Aston Villa winger Adama Traore, 19, will see his wages rise from the £40,000 a week he currently gets to around £75,000 a week when he makes a certain number of appearances for the struggling club.
(Daily Telegraph) 8/10 Interesting… keep an eye on his appearances.
Former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier claims he had to get rid of a drinking culture in his time at the club, and says the Anfield side’s current troubles are down to the signing of too many players.
(Secret Footballer) 10/10 Spice boys, anyone?
Four of Fifa’s biggest sponsors have refused to rule out ending their association with world football’s governing body unless it commits to an independent reform process.
(Daily Telegraph) The chickens are certainly coming home to roost just now…
Devante Cole – the 20-year-old son of former Manchester United striker Andy Cole – says he left Manchester City because the club do not give young English players a fair chance.
(Daily Mail) 9/10 You’d have thought his old man would have seen that one coming.