GUNNERS CHASE CESC
'Arsenal are manoeuvring themselves into a position to bring Cesc Fabregas back to north London this summer,' says the Daily Mail, who have also claimed Arsenal interest in Luis Suarez, Wayne Rooney, Stevan Jovetic and Gonzalo Higauin since the end of June. It's either a scattergun approach to transfer policy from the Gunners or the Daily Mail know that 'Arsenal chasing X' stories sell.
There's lots of talk about that £25m buy-back clause but that only comes into play if a) Barcelona want to sell and b) Fabregas wants to return to Arsenal. Quite why he would come back to a weaker squad than the one he left is not made clear. But perhaps if he reads the Daily Star, he will believe that 'Arsenal are pressing ahead with their plans to form a dynamic duo up front by chasing Luis Suarez, Wayne Rooney AND Gonzalo Higuain'. And who wouldn't believe what the Daily Star say?
RONALDO TO CITY...
Well, we don't believe the Daily Star in the slightest - but we are the Gossip Column and it is our job to report the gossip. So we are duty-bound to report that the Daily Star claims that Manchester City have 'decided to break the bank' to sign Ronaldo. Apparently money will not be an object (because of course this is exactly what City have been saying) and wages of around £300,000 a week will be on offer. We smell nonsense.
Rather more believable are claims that City will complete a £28m deal for Fiorentina's Stevan Jovetic, though we'll take the Daily Mirror's claims of late interest from Manchester United with a pinch of salt.
CHELSEA SURE ON ROONEY
This is a pretty unequivocal headline from The Independent: 'Chelsea confident of signing Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney - and are ready to sell Fernando Torres or Demba Ba if they are successful'. The second part of that equation is a no-brainer but the idea that Chelsea are 'confident' of signing Rooney is quite a claim. Despite David Moyes' protests, 'Chelsea regard the potential availability of Rooney much the way Sir Alex Ferguson saw Robin van Persie's situation at Arsenal last summer', apparently.
Rooney has only two years left on his contract and Chelsea apparently believe that United will be forced to sell this summer rather than see his value drop. Then either Ba or Torres will be sold to leave Romelu Lukaku, Rooney and either Ba or Torres as their three strikers.
Elsewhere, the claim in the Daily Mirror is that Chelsea 'were last night closing in on prime midfield target Daniele De Rossi after Roma completed the signing of PSV Eindhoven's Kevin Strootman'. Now this we like.
AND THE REST
Tottenham are closing in on FC Twente winger Nacer Chadli...Norwich have snapped up Blackburn defender Martin Olsson in a £2.5m deal...Swansea have been told they must pay £3m for Huddersfield defender Jack Hunt...Reading midfielder Daniel Caricco is set to join Seville on a season-long loan...Middlesbrough have been priced out of bringing back £20,000-per-week defender David Wheater from Bolton...Chairman Tony Fernandes has intervened to negotiate the transfer of Scott Parker to QPR...Lille's Salomon Kalou has asked for a guarantee from a prospective new club that he will play as a central striker. West Ham have made a fresh approach to sign him...Sunderland are close to a deal for Emanuele Giaccherini but Juventus want more then £6m...Tottenham have made Clint Dempsey available for transfer...
...Eden Hazard's younger brother Thorgan is wanted by Middlesbrough...Liverpool's Suso is set to join Almeria on loan for the season...Crystal Palace have signed former West Brom winger Jerome Thomas...QPR's Adel Taarabt has been sent home from the team's pre-season tour of Devon for turning up late for a training session...Sunderland have completed a deal for Le Havre's El-Hadji Ba...Crystal Palace are close to a £2m deal for Peter Odemwingie...West Brom have Salomon Kalou and Florent Malouda as their targets...Fulham will need £10m to land Dnipro winger Evgen Konoployanka...Norwich striker Simeon Jackson has joined Eintracht Braunschweig on a free transfer...Swansea will have to fork out at least £4m for Wakaso Mubarak from Espanyol...Mohammed Rabiu wants out of Evian to join Fulham...
...Chelsea's John Obi Mikel is being hunted by Trabsonspor as well as Galatasaray...Newcastle have failed with a £1.75m bid for PSV Eindhoven's Dutch 'keeper Jeroen Zoet...Tottenham are ready to give Aston Villa the pick of Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Scott Parker, Jake Livermore or Tom Huddlestone as part of any deal for Christian Benteke...Peterborough are set to cash in again after Lee Tomlin asked for a transfer...Jack Cork is the latest Southampton player to be given a new deal...Blackburn are letting Ruben Rochina go on loan to La Liga new boys Elche...Aston Villa have discussed an improved five-year deal for Ashley Westwood...Liverpool's Suso is joining Almeria on loan next season...Alan Pardew wants to snap up Reading 'keeper Alex McCarthy and Manchester City's Scott Sinclair for Newcastle...The agent of QPR's Esteban Granero has revealed he is in talks with Swansea.