Boxing Day Gossip

Rio to retire, United chase Koke, Reus and Lallana, Chelsea want Higuain for £48m and Cabaye costs £22m...

Last Updated: 26/12/13 at 11:58 Post Comment

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It's in a few newspapers - who have clearly been briefed by either Manchester United or Rio Ferdinand himself - but we'll bring you the Daily Telegraph version: 'Rio Ferdinand is facing the final six months of his Manchester United career as he is set to become a high-profile victim of David Moyes's rebuilding plans at Old Trafford.' Ferdinand's chances of getting a new contract when his one-year deal expires in the summer are said to be 'bleak'. Ferdinand will have to decide whether to hang up his boots and concentrate on his media work or go and pick up a few last quid in the US or Middle East.

As soon as the clock ticks over to January 1 - while the rest of us are watching Jools Holland's Hootenanny - David Moyes will apparently be lodging a £30m bid for 'Spanish sensation Koke' (The Daily Mirror's words, not ours). He has personally watched the Atletico Madrid midfielder twice while having him checked out a total of seven times in the last few weeks. He's now apparently ready to move for a 21-year-old midfielder who has also interested Bayern Munich, Arsenal and Liverpool.

The Daily Mail claim that their biggest midfield target is in fact Borussia Dortmund's Marco Reus, but United have apparently been told that he will cost as much as £40m.

The Daily Star take us in a slightly different direction (south) as they claim that United are eyeing a move for Southampton's England international Adam Lallana, who is rated somewhere around the £15m mark. The problem there could be persuading Lalana to leave his boyhood club. He said earlier this season: "Southampton is a special club for me and I can't see myself going anywhere else."

Jose Mourinho has been insistent that he will not sign a big-name striker in January but The Sun claim to know different, with the Chelsea boss apparently targeting his old Real Madrid favourite Gonzalo Higuain. He only joined Napoli in the summmer but the Italian club are wiling to sell already for about £48m, it says here. Of course they are - the only paid around £32m for him in the summer. He's scored goals (nine in Serie A) but that's a hell of a profit.

The Daily Mail call it a 'staggering £22m' but they're obviously easily staggered because Yohan Cabaye is clearly worth somewhere around the £20m bracket and Newcastle do not have to sell. They turned down a paltry bid of £10m for Cabaye from Arsenal in the summer and the Gunners have now apparently been told that they will have to more than double that offer. With PSG sniffing around, the boy will not come cheap.

In other Arsenal transfer news, the Daily Mirror claims that the Gunners 'are looking at Standard Liege hot-shot Michy Batshuayi, 20, who could be available for around £8m', but they seem more convinced by the idea that Alvaro Morata could arrive from Real Madrid on loan.

Manchester United boss David Moyes will let Wilfried Zaha join Cardiff on loan - if his mate Malky Mackay keeps his job. Newcastle, Stoke, old club Crystal Palace and West Brom are also eyeing Zaha...Pepe Mel is set for more talks with West Brom this week after emerging as the leading contender to be the new Baggies boss...Liverpool are ready to tie down manager Brendan Rodgers with a £2m-per-year contract...Bacary Sagna, out of contract next summer, is ready to listen to offers from other clubs - in a move which will stun Arsenal. PSG, Monaco and an unknown Turkish club have all been linked with the France right-back...David Sullivan will back West Ham manager Sam Allardyce in the transfer market next month...Christian Benteke is back on Atletico Madrid's wishlist as the Spanish side brace themselves for bids for Diego Costa.

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