Thursday's gossip column


Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole is close to agreeing a new four-year deal with the Stamford Bridge club. (London Evening Standard) 
Birmingham boss Alex McLeish is refusing to comment on speculation linking him with a move for Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton. (Press Association) 
Newcastle defender Sebastien Bassong claims he is being tracked by Arsenal and a number of clubs in the Premier League and abroad. (Press Association)
Malaysian businessman Ananda Krishnan denies reports he is interested in purchasing Newcastle. (Press Association) 


Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is weighing up a move for Inter Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.(Daily Mirror) 
Barcelona will sanction striker Samuel Eto'o's move to Manchester City to raise the £40m needed to try and lure midfielder Cesc Fabregas from Arsenal. (Daily Star) 
Arsenal are closing in on the signing of St Etienne midfielder Blaise Matuidi. (Daily Mirror)
But Fiorentina midfielder Felipe Melo, the Gunners' top summer transfer target, is set to sign for Juventus.(Daily Mail) 
Sebastien Bassong says Arsenal have made an approach to sign him, but the French defender blames Newcastle's uncertain future for blocking his exit from St James' Park.(Daily Mail) 
Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce could hijack Sunderland's bid to sign Tottenham striker Darren Bent. (The Sun) 
Allardyce is also ready to swoop for Sunderland striker Kenwyne Jones, provided Black Cats boss Steve Bruce lands his own big-money targets. (Daily Mirror) 
Portsmouth are considering their response to Sunderland's bid of about £11m for striker Peter Crouch. (The Times) 
Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill wants to sign winger Stewart Downing and striker Tuncay from Middlesbrough in an £18m deal. (Daily Mirror) 
Sunderland will bid £2.5m for Middlesbrough striker Mido.(The Sun) 
England Under-21 winger Adam Johnson is expected to join the exodus from Boro after emerging as a surprise target for Chelsea.(Daily Mail) 
Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti is ready to let defender Michael Mancienne join newly-promoted Wolves on a 12-month loan deal. (Various) 
The Blues have warned Inter Milan they will not get Ricardo Carvalho on the cheap as they look to fund a move for Porto defender Bruno Alves. Chelsea also hope to beat Real Madrid to the signing of Bayern Munich forward Franck Ribery. (Daily Express)
Everton manager David Moyes is hoping to recruit Espanyol full-back Sergio Sanchez but Sevilla and Valencia are also in the hunt. (Daily Mirror) 
Fulham manager Roy Hodgson is battling with Hamburg for the signing of Swedish striker Marcus Berg. (The Sun) 
Hodgson is also weighing up a £1m move for Leeds midfielder Neil Kilkenny. (Daily Mirror) 
Hull have joined Fulham in the race to sign West Brom midfielder Jonathan Greening. (Daily Star)
Tottenham are plotting a £3m bid for 19-year-old Sheffield United defender Kyle Walker. (Various) 
Bolton manager Gary Megson is chasing West Brom defender Paul Robinson and Swansea midfielder Ferrie Bodde. (Independent) 
Hamilton are in talks with Burnley which should see defender Brian Easton sign for the newly-promoted Premier League side. (Daily Record) 
Bristol City manager Gary Johnson is confident he can lure Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink to Ashton Gate following his release from Celtic. (Daily Star)
Southampton goalkeeper Kelvin Davis has rejected a move to West Ham in favour of regular football at St Mary's. (The Sun) 


Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has signed a contract extension which will keep him at Anfield until 2013, worth around £26m in total.(The Sun) 
Gerrard returned for pre-season training and immediately put pen to paper on a deal worth about £110,000 per week. (Daily Express) 
Arsenal have rejected a proposal by shareholder Alisher Usmanov for a proposed rights issue to generate new cash, warning that manager Arsene Wenger will have to secure "talented young players" in an attempt to avoid falling into a footballing "graveyard".(Daily Telegraph) 
Liverpool left-back Fabio Aurelio could miss six months of the season after twisting a knee while playing football with his children on holiday.(The Sun) 
Roberto Mancini has held talks to become Portsmouth manager, despite negotiations surrounding their £60m Middle-Eastern takeover stalling. (Daily Star)
Newcastle owner Mike Ashley is hopeful he can sell the club by the end of this week, with Malaysian billionaire Ananda Krishnan favourite to seal a £100m deal. (Daily Mail) 
A Far East consortium bidding to buy Newcastle plan to put Alan Shearer and Gianluca Vialli together as the managerial team. (Daily Mirror) 
Season-ticket sales at Newcastle are threatening to hit a 20-year low after the club's relegation from the Premier League. (Various) 
Manchester City manager Mark Hughes wants to add former Blackburn midfielder Tugay to his coaching staff. (Daily Mirror)
The 2010 World Cup suffered a setback after thousands of builders went on indefinite strike. (The Sun) 
Two major companies are keen to help save Stirling Albion by putting their name on the club and stadium. (Daily Record)


Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo insists Real Madrid have bought him for a snip at £80m. "Of course the club can pay £80m for me," said Ronaldo. "Or more. I think I'm worth more."(The Sun) 
The hysteria of Ronaldo's unveiling at Real has led the club to provide him with round-the-clock protection. They intend to hire three bodyguards to escort the 24-year-old. (Daily Mail) 
Coronation Street is being moved permanently from its prime Wednesday night slot to make way for football. (Various)