Thursday's gossip column


Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery says he wants to leave the German club to join Karim Benzema at Real Madrid.L'Equipe ((in French))


New Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti has delayed his arrival in London as he attempts to lure striker Alexandre Pato from his former club AC Milan.(The Sun)
Barcelona are preparing to make a £25m bid for Liverpool's Argentine midfielder Javier Mascherano.(Daily Mirror)
The proposed deal to take Ricardo Carvalho and Deco from Chelsea to Inter Milan could collapse over the London club's insistence that they want £12m for the duo.(Daily Telegraph)
Forward Carlos Tevez will be unveiled as a Manchester City player on Monday next week, after agreeing terms of about £120,000 a week.(Daily Mirro)
Former Arsenal skipper Patrick Vieira has been offered £100,000 a week by Birmingham as they try to sign the Frenchman from Inter Milan.(The Sun)
Chelsea are closing in on the signing of AC Milan midfielder Andrea Pirlo. (Daily Express) 
And the Blues are refusing to give up in their chase of Bayern Munish winger Franck Ribery.(Daily Mail)
Manchester City manager Mark Hughes is facing the prospect of being priced out of signing Everton defender Joleon Lescott. Everton value the centre half at £20m, which is £5m more than Hughes is willing to pay.(Daily Star)
Fulham midfielder Clint Dempsey could be set for a £4m move to Everton after turning down the offer of a new contract at Craven Cottage.(The Sun)
New Wigan manager Roberto Martinez is keen to sort out a quick deal for Honduras midfielder Hendry Thomas as Sunderland are also interested. (Daily Mirror) 
Aston Villa are ready to launch a bid of £3.5m plus midfielder Barry Bannan for Wigan defender Titus Bramble. (Daily Star)
And Villa boss Martin O'Neill is exploring the possibility of signing Middlesbrough's Stewart Downing - even though the winger will be out until October with a foot injury.(Daily Mail)
Sunderland manager Steve Bruce is lining up a bid for Reading midfielder Stephen Hunt, and is also close to completing the signing of Chile forward Humberto Suazo.(The Sun)
Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce will not be making a bid for Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton. (Daily Star) 
Burnley are interested in Hamilton midfielder James McCarthy, according to the Scottish club.(The Scotsman)
Birmingham want Arsenal left-back Armand Traore on a season-long loan.(The Sun)


Arsenal defender William Gallas says he will not sign a new contract with the Gunners and will walk away from the Emirates for free when his deal expires next summer if he is not allowed to leave this year. Inter Milan are interested in the 31-year-old.(Daily Mirror)
Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole is on the brink of signing a new four-year deal with the club, which is thought to be in the region of £120,000 a week.(The Times)
Broadcast giants Sky and ESPN have teamed up to force the SPL into agreeing a cut-price bail-out television deal worth less than the previous Setanta contract. (Daily Record)
Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis has called for the Premier League to consider a salary cap as a way of encouraging greater competition.(The Guardian)


Newcastle's players returned to work on Wednesday as the club prepares for life in the Championship.
Striker Obafemi Martins turned up late with midfielder Joey Barton back at the club for the first time since he was told to stay away from the training ground by caretaker boss Alan Shearer. Martins is apparently now on £65,000 a week, after earning a £5,000 a week pay rise under the terms of his contract.(The Sun)