Paper News and Gossip: Rio's Ronaldo Fail, Chelsea Hunt Rooney, Agger Staying
We're still waiting for that big deal to kick the transfer window into overdrive, and the papers are doing their best to spark the fire.
There's a stack of speculation, while Rio Ferdinand reflects on a deal that got away from Manchester United in the summer.
All this and more features in Friday's iteration of the Paper News and Gossip Roundup.
Rio's Ronaldo Pleas Fell on Deaf Ears
Rio Ferdinand's powers of persuasion are not all that hot, as he made repeated attempts to lure Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester United in the summer.
Ferdinand has revealed that he had Ronaldo on speed dial last summer, and made repeated pleas to get him to leave Real Madrid.
Ronaldo signed a new deal at Real, and Ferdinand feels the chances of him ever returning to Old Trafford have now gone.
The Mirror's David Anderson has the quotes from Ferdinand:
He was one of the most dialled people on my phone at the time!
But I think the opportunity has gone now. If we could have done it, I think it would have been last summer. He’s signed a new deal at Real now.
Mourinho Back in the Chase for Rooney
Jose Mourinho seemingly refuses to give up the chase for Wayne Rooney. The Telegraph's Matt Law suggests the Chelsea boss is confident of luring the forward away from Manchester United in the summer.
Mourinho failed to prise Rooney out of Old Trafford last year, but Law claims United's poor form this season has given the Chelsea boss hope that a deal can be struck.
Law claims Mourinho is so focused on Rooney that the Chelsea boss has turned down a number of forwards that have been offered to him.
In his piece, Law wrote:
Jose Mourinho has rejected a host of strikers already offered to him as January signings because he is convinced he can land Wayne Rooney at the end of the season.
Manchester United’s crisis has only strengthened Mourinho’s belief that he can eventually land Rooney for a reasonable fee, with the 28-year-old’s contract running down.
Rooney's Rallying Call to United Fans
"Things will get better" is the message Rooney has delivered to Manchester United's fans.
The Red Devils have endured a difficult time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired at the end of last season to be replaced by David Moyes.
They are off the pace in the Premier League, crashed out of the FA Cup at the third round stage and suffered a shock defeat to Sunderland in the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final.
Pressure is mounting on Moyes, but Rooney, the star player for the Red Devils so far this term, has called for the fans to rally behind the team.
The Mail's David Kent has picked up on an interview Rooney gave to MUTV:
The fans’ support is very important. The fans have been great here, especially now when we are not in the best of form and we have lost the last few games.
We need them to support us through this time. We will get stronger and we will get better. The fans are vital in being patient with us and letting us try to get there. I am sure we will do.
Wenger Predicts Strong Walcott Will Return
Arsene Wenger is known as "the Professor", but he could well be in line to become a doctor after predicting Theo Walcott will return as strong as ever from his injury.
Walcott suffered knee ligament damage in the win over Tottenham last week, and has been ruled out for the remainder of the season.
The forward, who will also miss the World Cup, is set for an operation followed by a lengthy period of rehabilitation.
Although admitting it is a blow to lose Walcott, Wenger claims Arsenal fans will see the same model next season.
The Press Association's Jim van Wijk has the quotes from an interview Wenger gave to Arsenal Player:
Theo is handling it as well as you can when you have had such a shock because he is mentally strong, is very balanced as a person and he can put it into perspective.
We know that he will have the dedication and the serious attitude to come back as strong as ever.
He has surgery and then it's rehab. You know that it is six months and that you hope it all goes well. The only thing I can say is it's very sad news for us and above all for him.
Everton Let Negredo Slip Through Their Grasp
Alvaro Negredo is making a huge splash at Manchester City, but he could have been plying his trade for Everton.
Laura Williamson of the Mail has revealed that Everton officials were well down the road to thrashing out a deal with Sevilla, only to baulk at the asking price last January.
In her piece, Williamson wrote: "The deal floundered when Everton officials arrived in Spain to find the asking price had soared from around £12 million to nearly £18 million, and the 28-year-old ended up joining City instead, in the summer."
Everton's loss has been Manchester City's gain, as Negredo has plundered 16 goals so far this season.
Arsenal Target Morata Frustrated with Real Role
Alvaro Morata continues to be linked with Arsenal, and the Mirror's Darren Lewis has reignited the fire by picking up quotes from the Real Madrid forward.
Real boss Carlo Ancelotti has maintained that he does not want to let Morata leave on loan, but Lewis has got his hands on quotes from the player who claims to be frustrated with his lack of playing time.
Per Lewis' piece, Morata said:
It’s important to have a proper role in the team.
I've been at Real Madrid my whole life and I've been a Real Madrid fan since I was a boy. I will be all my life, but it’s important to have an important role.
If the moment comes that I don’t, I will look at other options.
Arsenal have been linked with a host of strikers, with Morata one of those names in the frame. Lewis suggests the latest comments from Morata could open the door for the Gunners to make a move.
Oxlade-Chamberlain Returns for Arsenal's Reserves
A matter of days after losing Walcott to a season-ending injury, the gloom has been lifted a shade at Arsenal by the return of the Ox.
As reported by Adam Shergold of the Mail, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made an appearance for the Gunners' Under-21 side.
Oxlade-Chamberlain has not featured for Arsenal's first string since damaging his knee on the opening day of the season, but the winger returned to training last week.
His bid for fitness stepped up a level on Thursday, as he featured in the 1-0 win over Fulham's reserves.
According to Shergold, he made a positive impression in the 48 minutes he played. In his piece, Shergold wrote:
Clearly keen to put the setback behind him and get miles in the tank, Oxlade-Chamberlain switched constantly between flanks in a lively return, though some aspects of his game are naturally still rusty
His long-awaited return was nearly capped with a goal when he connected sweetly with a half-volley from 25 yards only for Fulham goalkeeper Jesse Joronen to save well.
Chelsea Set for Huge Profit on De Bruyne
Kevin De Bruyne is heading out of Chelsea, per Darren Lewis of the Mirror, and it will result in a bumper profit for the Blues.
Lewis states the Belgian will sign for Wolfsburg this January, in a deal that will cost the Bundesliga side £18 million.
If that figure proves to be correct, then Lewis points out that it will amount to a near £11 million profit on a player the Blues bought from Genk in 2012.
Agger Cools Liverpool Exit Talk
Daniel Agger has insisted he has no desire to walk out on Liverpool to join Napoli.
Former Reds boss Rafa Benitez has been linked with a raid on his former club to bag Agger in the January transfer window.
The Danish defender is aware of the speculation, but a move away from Anfield is not on his mind.
The Mirror's David Maddock has the quotes:
I can’t do anything about the rumours (of a move to Napoli), but there is no point spending any time on them.
I’m not thinking about moving, not at all. There is no reason to believe the rumours. I have been out of the team at times this season, but I have been unlucky.
Bits and Pieces: Reds Eye Ings, United Hunting Gundogan and More
Liverpool are in the hunt for Burnley forward Danny Ings, per a report from the Mail's Matt Peters.
Peters' fellow Mail writer Simon Jones claims the Reds are also interested in Dinamo Kiev forward Andriy Yarmolenko.
Jones also claims Inter Milan will attempt to prise Pablo Osvaldo away from Southampton and will offer Fredy Guarin in exchange.
The Mail's Sami Mokbel claims Ravel Morrison has told friends that he wants to leave West Ham, with a switch across London to Fulham on the cards.
The Mirror's David Anderson claims Borussia Dortmund are ready to offer Ilkay Gundogan a new deal to head off interest from Manchester United.