Wednesday's gossip column


Real Madrid are leading the race to sign Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery, who is also being targeted by Barcelona, Chelsea and Manchester United. (The Sun) 
Chelsea are actually the favourites to sign Ribery as Real are not happy with the price tag put on the French international. (Guardian) 
And Manchester United may ditch a move for Ribery as they do not want to sign players aged 26 or over for large transfer fees.(Guardian) 
Manchester United and Chelsea have a chance of landing Valencia striker David Villa in excess of £40m after his move to Real Madrid was put in doubt. (Daily Star) 
But Villa would only leave La Liga for England's top flight if it was to join Liverpool and their Spanish boss Rafael Benitez.(The Sun) 
Barcelona's courting of Liverpool's Javier Mascherano has resulted in the Argentine's international team-mate Lionel Messi, who plays for the Catalan club, saying it would be "beautiful" if the combative midfielder joined him at the Nou Camp. (The Sun) 
Liverpool winger Ryan Babel could be offered a route out of the club, with new Galatasaray manager Frank Rijkaard interested in signing his Dutch compatriot.(Daily Mail) 
Manchester City playmaker Robinho is also a target of Champions League winners Barcelona and they are ready to bid £35m for the Brazilian. (Daily Mirror) 
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy may help Real Madrid recoup some of their extravagant summer spending by thrashing out a £37m deal to sign winger Arjen Robben, striker Klass-Jan Huntelaar and defender Gabriel Heinze.(Daily Mirror) 
Italian midfielder Gennarro Gattuso has not ruled out following new Cheslea boss Carlo Ancelotti from AC Milan to Stamford Bridge. (Daily Mirror) 
Ancelotti is also weighing up a £30m move for Inter Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.(Daily Express) 
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will step up his attempts to sign Fiorentina midfielder Felipe Melo with a £15m bid. (Daily Mail) 
Arsenal right-back or right-sided midfielder Emmanuel Eboue wants to move abroad if he is not going to get more first-team football.(Daily Express) 
West Ham have landed Inter Milan winger Mancini and striker Luis Jimenez on season-long loans and will have first refusal on signing the pair next summer. (The Sun) 
Manchester City are close to capturing striker Roque Santa Cruz from Blackburn in a deal worth £15m, plus more depending on the success of the Paraguyan.(The Sun) 
Arsenal right-back Bacary Sagna insists he is committed to Arsenal after reports linking him with a switch to Barcelona. (The Sun) 
Everton boss David Moyes has had a bid for Sheffield United right-back Kyle Naughton knocked back. (Press Association) 
Fulham are keen on some Brazilian flair as they want to bring Manchester City striker Jo to Craven Cottage for £8m. (The Sun) 
Middlesbrough managing director Keith Lamb says it "wouldn't be the easiest of negotiations from their (Spurs') point of view" but he would take Tottenham's call if they wanted to sign winger Stewart Downing.(The Sun) 
Premier League new boys Birmingham have agreed a deal to sign defender Roger Johnson from Cardiff and are also interested in Tottenham midfielder Didier Zokora. (Daily Mirror) 
Fellow top-flight newcomers Wolves are in talks with former Reading keeper Marcus Hahnemann about signing him as cover for Wayne Hennessey. (Daily Mail)


Wigan chairman Dave Whelan has questioned whether Newcastle striker Michael Owen has "the bottle" to cut it in the Premier League. (Daily Star) 
Manchester City chairman Khaldoon al Mubarak has sent out a warning to clubs saying the Eastlands outfit will walk away from deals to signs players if they are quoted unreasonable figures.(Times) 
Chelsea striker Didier Drogba will find out on Wednesday whether he will be banned for his behaviour following his side's Champions League semi-final exit to Barcelona last season. (Times) 
The Premier League are struggling to sort out the fixture list for the upcoming season beacuse of more European fixtures as well as the World Cup finals next summer.(Daily Star) 


Blackburn forward El-Hadji Diouf has his sights set on becoming an MP in his native Senegal once he hangs up his boots as well as wanting to coach his country's national team. (The Sun)