Saturday's gossip column


Steve Bruce wants to make Tottenham striker Darren Bent, 25, his first signing at Sunderland, but is being put off by the £18m price tag that Spurs have put on him. (Daily Mirror) 
Manchester United have been told by Karim Benzema's agent that it is only a matter of time before the £35m-rated striker leaves French club Lyon. (Daily Mirror) 
But Benzema has said in the past that he would prefer to play in Spain and the Premier League champions will face a battle with Real Madrid for his signature. (Daily Mail)
Hull manager Phil Brown has admitted Brazilian striker Geovanni could be sold if another club is willing to put in a big money offer. (Daily Star) 
Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce wants to sign Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy from Spanish side Real Madrid. (The Independent) 
Fulham are eyeing up a £5m bid for Middlesbrough's 27-year-old striker Tuncay Sanli. (Daily Express) 
The Cottagers are also keen to sign Marseille midfielder Bolo Zenden, 32, who is available on a free transfer. (The Sun)
Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill is considering a shock move to sign Portsmouth centre-back Sol Campbell, 34, on a free transfer.(The Sun) 
Wolves are set to sell Republic of Ireland midfielder Stephen Gleeson, 20, to League One side MK Dons for an undisclosed fee. (Daily Star)
Reading striker Kevin Doyle will decide next week on a £6.5m move to Fulham, Bolton, Sunderland or Wolves. (Daily Star) 
Birmingham believe midfielder Lee Bowyer, 32, will complete a permanent move from West Ham next week. (Various)
The Blues are also tracking 24-year-old midfielder Ferne Snoyl, who is out of contract at Dutch side RKC Waalwijk. (The Times) 
Arsenal's hopes of signing Fiorentina midfielder Felipe Melo, 25, look to have ended after the Brazilian's agent said he was happy in Italy. (Independent)
Queens Park Rangers are trying to talk veteran Turkish midfielder Tugay, 38, out of retirement. (Daily Mirror) 
Burnley have made a club record £2.75m bid for Hibernian striker Steven Fletcher. (Daily Mirror)
Everton are closer to a £6m deal for Rennes midfielder Stephane Mbia. (Daily Mail) 
Italian side Fiorentina are vying with Spanish club Atletico Madrid for Everton's Steven Pienaar.(Daily Mail)
Tottenham have bid £6m for Inter Milan's Nigeria striker Victor Obinna, while Atletico Madrid want to sell Maxi Rodriguez to Spurs.(Daily Mail) 
Birmingham have failed in a bid to sign midfielder Patrick Vieira, 33, from Inter Milan. Full story: (Daily Mail) 
Blackburn are weighing up a move for £10m-rated striker Andre-Pierre Gignac, 23, from Toulouse, who was top scorer in France last season. Full story: (Daily Mail) 


Tottenham could be dragged into a legal fight over Jermain Defoe's £7.5m move from Spurs to Portsmouth in January 2008.(The Sun) 
Carlos Tevez, who is set to sign for Manchester City next week, claims he was forced to leave Manchester United after the Old Trafford club signed Dimitar Berbatov from Tottenham.(The Sun) 
Liverpool left-back Fabio Aurelio looks set to miss the start of the season after damaging his knee playing football with his children. The 29-year-old is facing the prospect of surgery and several months on the sidelines, so the Reds are hanging on to Andrea Dossena despite interest from Juventus.(Daily Express) 
Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate has denied claims that he has offered Everton defender Phil Neville a coaching role at the Riverside. (Daily Express) 
Former Crystal Palace boss Alan Smith is set to return to the game as Gareth Southgate's number two at Boro.(The Sun) 


Birmingham boss Alex McLeish is raging after being forced to sign Ecuador centre-back Giovanny Espinoza, 32, on Wednesday. (The Sun)