Paper Gossip: Bite the Making of Suarez, Lallana's Utd Snub, Jose's Mind Games
It's the final weekend before the January transfer window opens for business.
As such, it comes as no surprise that there is transfer speculation aplenty in the papers.
There's also mind games from Jose Mourinho, and a strong word as to who will be the next manager of Cardiff.
All this and more feature in Saturday's iteration of the Paper News and Gossip Roundup.
Rodgers Feels Suarez Has Learned from Ivanovic Bite
On Sunday, Luis Suarez will face Branislav Ivanovic for the first time since the infamous bite that resulted in the Liverpool man picking up a 10-game suspension.
Since what was arguably the low point of his career, Suarez has been in blistering form for Liverpool.
Liverpool’s decision to stand by Suarez rather than sell him has paid off, with the club mounting a title challenge.
Rodgers feels the incident acted as a spark for the Uruguayan to channel everything into his football, and does not believe there will be any fallout when the Reds face Chelsea on Sunday.
The Mirror’s David Anderson has the quotes:
I don’t think there’s anything else there.
They spoke after it and it was cleared up back then. I think it will probably end up proving to be a turning point in Luis’ career.
He’s been brilliant on his return both on and off the field so I do not expect any backlash from that.
Tan to Lure Solskjaer with January War Chest
It’s all change at Cardiff City, following the club’s decision to sack Malky Mackay.
It felt inevitable that owner Vincent Tan would axe Mackay following the souring of relations.
Prior to Mackay’s exit, Tan warned the Scot that he would not be allowed to spend anything in the January transfer window.
That now appears to have changed, with the Mirror’s John Cross revealing in an exclusive piece that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been lined up as Mackay’s replacement.
And to lure the Norwegian to the Welsh capital, according to Cross, Tan will spend "whatever it takes” to keep Cardiff up.
In his piece, Cross wrote:
Vincent Tan wants Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to be Cardiff’s new boss—and is prepared to spend “whatever it takes” to keep them in the Premier League.
Billionaire Malaysian Tan is “95 percent certain” that he can get ex-Manchester United striker Solskjaer to succeed at Cardiff with the promise of major funds in the January transfer window.
It is understood that Cardiff have held talks with Molde boss Solskjaer, interviewed him twice and are confident of being able to unveil him next week.
Lamela Still Set on Spurs Loan Exit
A change of manager at Tottenham Hotspur has not acted as a spark for Erik Lamela, according to Darren Lewis of the Mirror, as he suggests the midfielder still wants to leave on loan in January.
Prior to Andre Villas-Boas’ exit, there was talk of a loan move to Atletico Madrid for the summer recruit from Roma.
Tim Sherwood is now in charge, and handed Lamela a start in the win at Southampton.
Lewis, though, feels Lamela’s mindset has not changed and claims the Argentine will push for a move in January in a bid to secure his place in his country’s World Cup squad.
If Lewis is correct, there could be a clash come January as he claims Tottenham have no intention of letting Lamela leave on loan.
In his piece, Lewis wrote:
Although he has publicly declared he is up for the challenge of breaking into the Spurs team, his private frustrations are well known and have attracted interest from a number of top European clubs.
Spurs, however, have no intention of farming Lamela out and retain high hopes for him.
Lallana 'Not Interested' in Manchester United Move
Adam Lallana has pledged his future to Southampton, which the Mirror’s Alex Crook has interpreted as the midfielder dashing Manchester United’s hopes of making a swoop in January.
Crook suggests Red Devils boss David Moyes is readying a £15 million January raid on St Mary’s, but Lallana has insisted he has no intention of moving on from Southampton.
Crook has the quotes from Lallana:
I have got four years or so left on my contract.
I can’t express how happy I am at the club. I am so settled. Settled at home with a young child and my family live down here.
I don’t think I am too comfortable either, I get challenged week in week out playing in the Premier League. It is where you want to be as a player.
Podolski Wants to Make Up for Lost Time with Arsenal Title Push
Lukas Podolski returned from four months on the sidelines with a hamstring injury to score in Arsenal’s win over West Ham, and he has his eyes trained on the title.
Arsenal’s form has been a shade fitful of late, but the win over the Hammers moved them back to the top of the table.
Podolski is determined to make up for lost time and fire the Gunners to Premier League glory.
The Star’s Ralph Ellis has the quotes:
It is not easy for the head, that is for certain. You don’t have the feeling of being with the team.
Of course it was great to come back and score a goal, but it was more important that we got the three points at West Ham.
Every match is going to be important now, every match will be about getting three points. We are top and of course we want to stay there.
We know it won’t be easy because there are five or six teams all strong this season, but we have a strong team and we will fight.
Mourinho Suggests Title Beyond Arsenal and Chelsea
Podolski has his sights trained on the title, but Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho feels he will be disappointed.
Mind games are part and parcel of Mourinho’s make-up, and he suggests Arsenal and his own Chelsea are going to struggle to keep pace with Manchester City and Liverpool.
The Mirror’s Martin Lipton has the quotes from Mourinho:
Arsenal are like us. They play in the Champions League. They are trying to improve from the last few years. For many years they’ve not been at the top of the league.
Chelsea were 25 and 14 points off the leaders in the last two years. For us and Arsenal we have to try and do our best.
Chelsea Turn Attentions to Higuain
Chelsea’s search for a striker will see them make a raid on Napoli for Gonzalo Higuain, reports the Star’s Colin Harvey.
Higuain only joined Napoli from Real Madrid in the summer and has been in fine form in Serie A, but Harvey claims Chelsea are so desperate for a forward that they will attempt to persuade Napoli to take a quick profit.
Harvey claims Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa is the Blues’ prime target, but will turn to Higuain as the former is not keen on a mid-season move ahead of the World Cup.
Valencia Eye Dzeko Raid
Manchester City forward Edin Dzeko is a January target for Valencia, per a report from the Mail’s Adam Crafton.
Crafton has picked up on a piece from Spanish daily Marca which claims Valencia are on the brink of a takeover by Singapore billionaire Peter Lim.
Should the deal go through, the report states Lim will make up to £40 million available to help push the club into the Champions League places.
Crafton suggests Dzeko is the prime target to add firepower to the Valencia attack in the second half of the season.
Bits and Pieces: Palace to Spend, West Ham Want Heitinga, Villa Back Lambert
Crystal Palace’s win over Aston Villa has resulted in the Eagles board giving the green light to manager Tony Pulis to spend in the January transfer window, according to the Mirror’s Ed Malyon. The likes of Celtic’s Joe Ledley and Lyon’s Bafetimbi Gomis are in Pulis’ sights.
West Ham are struggling for goals and in need of a striker, but the Mirror’s John Cross claims Hammers boss Sam Allardyce has set his sights on Everton defender John Heitinga.
The Mirror's Chris Richards has revealed West Ham have released Mladen Petric, a mere three months since the striker signed on a free transfer from Fulham.
Fiorentina defender Marcos Alonso is flying to England to put the finishing touches to a loan move to Sunderland, reports the Mirror’s Simon Bird.
Arsenal and Tottenham are ready to battle Barcelona for the signature of Luis Gustavo, per a piece from the Express’ David Wright, after the midfielder suggested he was open to a move away from Wolfsburg.
Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner will stick by manager Paul Lambert despite the side's slide down the Premier League table, according to the Telegraph's John Percy.