ONCE a story takes root, it develops a life of its own… so it is with Jose Mourinho’s troubles at Chelsea. Will he be sacked? If he is, who takes over? And what happens to him then?
Well former Real Madrid preisdent Ramon Calderon has weighed in by declaring that Real are willing to give Mourinho another try at the Bernabeu. Astonishing, given the controversial spell he had in Madrid.
If that sounds far-fetched, how about Lionel Messi learning English ahead of a possible move to the Premier League? No? Well, it comes from a well-connected source.
And Barcelona are said to be keen on Chelsea striker Diego Costa… Costa in, Messi out?
So here we go. Saturday’s section of gossip and suggestion – all wrapped up with our own ratings to guide you to as to their credibility.
REAL Madrid are willing to bring Jose Mourinho back to the Bernabeu if he is sacked by Chelsea, according to the club’s former president Ramon Calderon.
(Bein Sports) 5/10 That is almost – but not quite – as daft as the suggestion that Andre Villas-Boas would return to replace Mourinho at Chelsea.
Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, 28, is learning English and “preparing for the possibility” of a Premier League move, says Spanish football expert Guillem Balague.
(Talksport) 7/10 Good source… but really? Would he come now, or when he’s in his dotage?
Chelsea striker Diego Costa, 27, is a transfer target for Barcelona manager Luis Enrique.
(Don Balon via Daily Express) 7/10 His first-season impact is starting to feel like a long way off.
Barca are also considering a move for former Liverpool and current Feyenoord striker Dirk Kuyt, 35, in January.
(Sport) 3/10 This one has done the rounds once and is back for another outing. Still seems potty.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp wants more of their youngsters to stay at the academy rather than going out on loan.
(Liverpool Echo) 10/10 Sounds dangerously like common sense – unless you subscribe to the theory that any sort of league football is better than under-21 games.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says it is “now or never” for forward Joel Campbell – and thinks the 23-year-old can be “very important” over the next few months.
(Daily Mirror) 8/10 Very true – but he needs to be given a chance.
Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher, 28, has been told by manager Sam Allardyce to keep them in the Premier League to earn a new contract.
(Sunderland Echo) A dozen goals should be his target.
Republic of Ireland winger James McClean, 26, will continue his stance against wearing a poppy on his shirt when West Bromwich Albion face Leicester.
(Daily Telegraph) 10/10 How to win friends and influence people.
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has dismissed fresh speculation linking England striker Harry Kane, 22, with a January move to Manchester United.
(Evening Standard) 10/10 As well he might. Ridiculous.
Shakhtar Donetsk’s Brazilian midfielder Alex Teixeira, 25, claims that Chelsea have made an offer for him.
(Metro) 6/10 Chelsea will be looking at a raft of players right now.
Real Madrid’s 16-year-old midfielder Martin Odegaard wants a loan move in January, with a number of Championship clubs interested.
(Daily Mail) 8/10 There would be no shortage of takers for a fine prospect.
Pele has implied his Brazil compatriot and Barcelona forward Neymar, 23, is lazy.
(Sun – subscription required) 10/10 When the great man speaks, we should all (Neymar included) listen.
Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha, 22, says he was “depressed” at Manchester United – and was angry about the lies and rumours about him and David Moyes’s daughter.
(Daily Mirror) 10/10 Understandable.
Former England goalkeeper David James says Manchester United’s David De Gea, 24, would not have been Real Madrid’s number one had he moved to the Bernabeu in the summer.
(Daily Express) 3/10 Not so sure about that, David.
Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish, 20, faces a wait for his first England call-up after it emerged that Fifa is still investigating his request to switch countries from the Republic of Ireland.
(Daily Mail) 10/10 He is young enough to wait.
Newcastle United have accepted a Football Association charge of failing to control their players in Sunday’s Wear-Tyne derby defeat at Sunderland.
(BBC Sport) 10/10 The mitigation is the sending off of Coloccini – even Sam Allardyce reckons a penalty in such circumstances is punishment enough.