Saturday's gossip column


Manchester City are being linked with Peruvian forward Roberto Merino, a player nicknamed 'the Maradona of the Andes'.(Setanta Sports) 


Chelsea are weighing up an English record £40m bid for Valencia's highly-rated Spanish international forward David Villa. (Independent) 
Real Madrid are set to beat Chelsea to the signing of France international midfielder Franck Ribery for £60m. (The Sun) 
AC Milan are ready to rival Real for the signing of Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo as a replacement for Kaka, should the Brazilian move to Madrid. (The Sun) 
Tottenham have offered David Bentley plus £8m for Aston Villa winger Ashley Young. (The Sun) 
Villa, though, are interested in taking £10m-rated midfielder Jermaine Jenas from Spurs, and are also keen on Serbian defensive midfielder Nenad Mililjas, who had been interesting Premier League new-boys Wolves.(Daily Mail) 
Barcelona plan to capitalise on the financial problems at Liverpool with a £20m raid for Argentine midfielder Javier Mascherano. (The Sun) 
The Reds are also set to miss out on their top summer target - Valencia's Spanish midfielder David Silva - because of the budget constraints imposed on manager Rafael Benitez, with Real Madrid favourites to land the player. (Various)
One man who appears to be on his way out of Anfield is Italian defender Andrea Dossena, who is a target for Juventus.(Daily Telegraph) 
Manchester United's hopes of landing Lyon's £30m-rated striker Karim Benzema have been increased after the president of the French club, Jean-Michel Aulas, said the player was not "untransferable". (Daily Express) 
Birmingham have been told they must pay £4m if they want to lure defender Scott Dann from Coventry, who have also rejected a £1m bid from the Blues for winger Gary McSheffrey. (Daily Express) 
England winger Stewart Downing can leave Middlesbrough if the club receive an acceptable offer according to club chief executive Keith Lamb.(Daily Express) 
Stoke are set to join the race to sign Manchester City defender Richard Dunne, who is also being tracked by Tottenham.(Daily Mail) 
The Potters are set to give Liam Lawrence a new deal but have turned down Glenn Whelan's demand for a pay-rise.(Daily Mirror) 
West Ham have targeted full-backs, Rennes' France international Rod Fanni and Middlesbrough's Matthew Bates, as replacement's for Lucas Neill, who has rejected a new one-year deal at Upton Park.(Daily Telegraph) 
Hull manager Phil Brown is keen to sign Manchester United strike-dup Manucho and Frazier Campbell, both of whom have had recent loan spells at the KC Stadium.(Daily Mirror) 


England manager Fabio Capello says he "does not recognise himself" in the description given of him by Carlo Ancelotti and called for some respect, after the new Chelsea coach described his former AC Milan boss as "surly" and having no dialogue with his players. (Various)
England captain John Terry has urged Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher to reconsider his decision to retire from international football. (Various) 
West Ham striker Carlton Cole has sought advice from Chelsea front-man Didier Drogba in his quest to become an England regular. (Daily Star) 
England fitness coach Massimo Neri is a target for new Juventus coach Ciro Ferrara as he looks to build his back-room staff. (The Times) 
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger turned down the opportunity to become the manager of Real Madrid, despite three meetings with the Spanish club. (Daily Mirror) 
Roberto Mancini and Slaven Bilic top the shortlist for the manager's job at Portsmouth after Paul Hart - who took temporary charge last season - was told he wouldn't be offered the job.(Daily Mirror) 
Prospective new Wigan boss Roberto Martinez can be a great success at the JJB Stadium according to former Latics manager Ray Mathias. (Daily Express) 
Manchester City's Brazilian midfielder Elano has delivered an ultimatum to the club, demanding they offer him a knew lucrative contract or let him leave.(Daily Mail) 


England boss Fabio Capello says England are the Rafael Nadal to Spain's Roger Federer because of their athletic, physical prowess in contrast to the European Champions grace and guile. (Various)
Theo Walcott has confessed he grew a moustache and a designer beard because he was sick of Arsenal players calling him "Sweet Little Boy".(The Sun)