Gossip: Zlatan doubts, Benteke row, Carroll bids

Matt Stead

He joined because of Jose Mourinho and his head-bumping kids, but he might leave due to a lack of Champions League football. The Daily Mirror says Zlatan Ibrahimovic is ‘prepared to quit’ Manchester United.

The claim is not new. It emerged last week that the 35-year-old was reluctant to agree to a second year at the club without the guarantee of participation in Europe’s elite competition. But that was before his starring role in the EFL Cup final.

Two days after he scored twice at Wembley to net another piece of silverware, Ibrahimovic’s future is still up for discussion. Davids Anderson and McDonnell team up to report that ‘there is real concern’ he will leave in the summer. They write:

‘Having agreed to sign for one season without Champions League football, the Swedish superstar is reluctant to be without it again for what would likely be his last campaign in Europe.’

United are sixth in the Premier League table, but only two points behind fourth-placed Arsenal, and one behind Liverpool, who have played a game more. A decent run of form could make the whole thing a non-issue.


It was never meant to be like this for Christian Benteke. When Crystal Palace signed him for £27million in the summer, it was a move that was supposed to suit all parties. But he will now ‘consider his future’ at the club at the end of the season.

It is not a decision which hinges on survival, according to the Daily Telegraph. Instead, the Belgian ‘was involved in a bizarre row’ with Andros Townsend, and with things not going quite as planned at Selhurst Park, he could abandon the good ship Big Sam.

Chinese Super League clubs, presumably unnamed ones, would be interested. So would West Ham. Which brings us to…



‘West Ham have rejected lucrative offers from Chinese clubs for Andy Carroll.’

Of all the players, the quintessentially British striker Andy Carroll would be low on our list of player wanted by China. But the Daily Mail report that Tianjin Quanjian, Hebei China Fortune and Shandong Luneng all wanted him in the winter.

It would have taken a brave West Ham to accept the offer. The Mail cite the club’s ‘threadbare squad’ as the reason the bids were rejected. Having failed to sign an adequate striker in two transfer windows, it would have been brilliant if the Hammers sold their best forward.

There is no news as to whether Chinese interest will be renewed in the summer, or whether West Ham would entertain it if given a little more time to improve their squad.


Manchester United left-back Luke Shaw will reportedly ask to leave Old Trafford in the summer after falling further down Jose Mourinho’s pecking order…Chinese club Tianjin Quanjian have said they offered £90m for Chelsea’s 28-year-old Spain striker Diego Costa and claim to have a limitless transfer budget this summer…AC Milan are considering launching a £27m summer bid for Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas…Jose Mourinho is keeping an eye on Cesc Fabregas’ situation at Chelsea…Former Rangers manager Mark Warburton is a surprise candidate to replace Andries Jonker as the head of Arsenal’s academy…West Bromwich Albion chairman John Williams has warned Chinese clubs that striker Salomon Rondon is not for sale at any price. The Baggies turned down £32m for the 27-year-old Venezuela striker in January.