Paper News and Gossip: United Eye Bale, Zizou Backs Gerrard and Rooney Move Talk

Alex LivieFeatured ColumnistOctober 27, 2013

Paper News and Gossip: United Eye Bale, Zizou Backs Gerrard and Rooney Move Talk

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    The papers go full steam ahead with speculation on Sunday.

    Along with a chunk of transfer talk, there are rumours of a team planning a stadium move.

    Also, you'll not be surprised to hear there's more on Sir Alex Ferguson's book. This time it's a legend of the game taking issue with the Scot.

    All this and more features in Sunday's edition of the Paper News and Gossip Roundup.

Manchester United in Shock Gareth Bale Link

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    We were almost drowned with Gareth Bale transfer talk in the summer, but we thought it had gone away following his move from Tottenham to Real Madrid.

    Not so. Bale is back in the transfer gossip columns. Well, the Sunday Times’ (subscription) transfer gossip column, to be precise.

    Bale has had a tough start to life at Real Madrid, with injuries hampering his progress. He was handed a start in the big game with Barcelona on Saturday, but he disappointed and was substituted in the second half.

    The Sunday Times Jonathan Northcroft and Duncan Castles take up the baton and say Manchester United are monitoring the situation.

    United tried to steal Bale away from Real in the summer, only for the Wales international to seal a move to Madrid.

    But with Bale struggling in the Spanish capital, Northcroft and Castles claim there is belief at Old Trafford that they could pull off a shock transfer.

    Northcroft and Castles wrote:

    Manchester United are monitoring Gareth Bale’s form at Real Madrid in the hope of bringing back the Welshman to the Premier League.

    With Madrid’s president, Florentino Perez, already under pressure for sanctioning Bale’s world-record £85m fee and the player facing criticism from a sceptical Spanish media, United believe a deal may be possible in the close season.


Tottenham in NFL Ground-Share Link

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    Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium plans are back in the spotlight, with the Mail on Sunday’s Alex Miller reporting that the club are looking into the prospect of a ground-share with a London-based NFL franchise.

    NFL is on the agenda this weekend, with the Jacksonville Jaguars taking on the San Francisco 49ers at Wembley on Sunday.

    Such has been the success of the NFL games in London, the idea of a London-based team playing in the NFL has been floated.

    If this idea were to get off the ground, conventional wisdom says Wembley would likely be the side’s home venue.

    Not necessarily so, writes Miller, who says:

    Tottenham are working on secret plans for a new 65,000-seat multi-purpose stadium that would allow them to share with a London-based NFL franchise.

    Earlier this year, Spurs dumped their original designs for a 56,000-seat stadium costing £400million, stating that they wanted to reconsider a number of interior features at the new White Hart Lane.

    But The Mail on Sunday can reveal Spurs have appointed Populous, designers of the Olympic Stadium and the Emirates Stadium—home to north London rivals Arsenal—to design a bigger ground allowing an easy switch from football to NFL.

    Miller adds that such a move would put Spurs on collision course with the FA, whose Wembley Stadium currently plays host to the NFL International Series.


Zinedine Zidane Says Sir Alex Ferguson Wrong About Steven Gerrard

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    You knew it was coming. Yes, it’s yet more fallout from the Sir Alex Ferguson autobiography and his criticism of Steven Gerrard.

    In his book, Ferguson wrote that he did not feel Gerrard was out of the top drawer.

    The Scot has come into criticism from the likes of Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers and Anfield legend Jamie Carragher.

    Rodgers and Carragher defending Gerrard is understandable on account of their Liverpool connections, but a fresh voice has come forward—an impartial voice and one that carries real weight.

    Former World Footballer of the Year Zinedine Zidane has given his opinion on the matter and feels Ferguson is way off the mark with regard to Gerrard.

    The Sunday Mirror’s Simon Mullock carries the quotes in his piece:

    For two or three years, Steven Gerrard was the best midfield player in the world.

    Even now he is playing at a high level for ­Liverpool and England.

    Alex Ferguson is obviously one of the most successful coaches the game has ever had. But I did find his comments about Steven Gerrard very strange. To say he is not a top player is wrong.

Chelsea in Hunt for Everton's Ross Barkley

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    Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho could make a January raid on Everton for Ross Barkley, writes Dave Kidd of the Sunday People.

    Barkley has made a positive impression for Everton this season, and his performances in the middle of midfield have earned him international recognition with England.

    The 19-year-old’s displays have caught the attention of Mourinho, writes Kidd, who says a £20 million bid is being planned.

    Kidd also adds that the days of lavish spending at Chelsea may be over. He claims Mourinho has been told he must sell before he can buy.

Manchester United to Bag Leighton Baines for £15 Million in January

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    The Manchester United transfer speculation just keeps on flowing.

    The Bale talk may be a shade fanciful, but reports of Leighton Baines arriving seem far more secure.

    The Sunday Express’ John Richardson has gone extremely strong in his piece.

    Richardson says Red Devils boss Moyes will snap up the Everton left-back for £15 million in January.

    Everton resisted Manchester United’s efforts to sign Baines in the summer, but Richardson is convinced that the move will happen in January.

    Richardson claims Everton are already lining up replacements, with “Swansea City's Ben Davies and Chelsea's Ryan Bertrand in their thoughts.”

Chelsea Plotting £35 Million Wayne Rooney Bid

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    Wayne Rooney has been in dazzling form for Manchester United this season, with his efforts going a long way to proving his commitment.

    It was a long summer for Rooney, who had been strongly linked with the exit door. Chelsea pushed hard but ultimately failed to land the England international striker.

    It seems, though, that Blues boss Jose Mourinho has not given up the chase. The Star’s Harry Pratt writes that Chelsea are readying a £35 million bid.

    Pratt claims that with Rooney having a shade over 18 months to run on his current contract, there is the prospect of his moving on.

    Rooney’s contract is a topic of debate, and the Mail on Sunday’s Rob Shepherd says United have baulked at handing him a new deal amid talk that he wants a substantial hike on his current £250,000-a-week pay packet.

Bits and Pieces: Lewandowski Available and Inter Hunt Vermaelen

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    Borussia Dortmund are prepared to offload striker Robert Lewandowski for £7 million in January, writes the Star’s Paul Hetherington.

    Hetherington states that Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea are all on alert, as Dortmund want to ensure Lewandowski does not move to Bayern Munich.

    Newcastle and Tottenham are monitoring Basel’s Switzerland international keeper Yann Sommer, writes the Star’s Harry Pratt.

    Stephan El Shaarawy is a hot property, and the Star’s Jack Wilson claims Liverpool are ready to battle Chelsea and Arsenal for the AC Milan forward’s signature.

    Arsenal are planning a January raid on West Brom for midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu, according to the Mirror's Ralph Ellis.

    Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen has emerged as an £8 million transfer target for Serie A side Inter Milan, per Metro’s Jamie Sanderson.