Friday's gossip column


Chelsea have turned down an £18m bid from Real Madrid for Brazilian defender Alex.(The Times) 
Manchester United are still monitoring Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery and Valencia's David Silva, despite insisting that their summer spending is over.(The Times) 
Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Lucas Leiva has said he may leave the club and return to his homeland if he does not get more first-team action next season.(The Sun) 
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted he is interested in signing Fulham defender Brede Hangeland but said the club are yet to make an offer for the 28-year-old Norwegian.(The Independent) 
Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill has expressed an interest in bringing Real Madrid's 25-year-old Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder to Villa Park.(The Guardian) 
Manchester City will make one final offer for Everton defender Joleon Lescott, believed to be about £22m. (Daily Mirror) 
Wigan have agreed a £3.5m deal for highly-rated Rayo Vallecano midfielder Mohamed Diame and his team-mate, defender Antonio Amaya. (Daily Mail) 
The move for Diame could signal the end of Lee Cattermole's Wigan career, he is a target for Sunderland, Liverpool, Spurs and Everton.(Daily Mail) 
Portsmouth have made a £2m bid for Vitoria Guimaraes midfielder Nuno Assis and the 31-year-old said he is keen on a move to Fratton Park if "the money and sport aspects can be united". (The Sun)
Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate admits that he is "amazed" that Tuncay is still with the club but expects the 27-year-old to leave by September.(Daily Star) 
Wigan striker Olivier Kapo, 28, is a target for French club Nice. (The Sun)
West Brom are keen on 25-year-old St Mirren midfielder Billy Mehmet. (Daily Star) 
Celtic are lining up a move for Indian international striker Sunil Chhetri, who signed for Dempo Sports Club in May but is available for £1m. (Daily Express)
Portsmouth are poised to make a move for Celtic left-back Lee Naylor. (The Sun) 


Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has said he is more worried about Aston Villa this season than he is about Manchester City and said that Mark Hughes' side will not break into the Premier League's top four.(Daily Mirror) 
Wenger also believes that 17-year-old midfielder Jack Wilshere can make the same impact as when Wayne Rooney first played for Everton.(The Guardian) 
Liverpool are expected to end their 17-year association with shirt sponsor Carlsberg when their current £8m-a-year deal finishes at the end of the season. Banking giants Standard Chartered are expected to replace Carlsberg for about £15m-a-year.(Daily Mail) 
Darren Bent has taken a swipe at former club Tottenham after the striker completed a move to Sunderland. The 25-year-old said he never felt wanted at White Hart Lane and criticised manager Harry Redknapp for not giving him enough support. (The Sun) 
Sir Alex Ferguson has backed Michael Owen to score goals for Manchester United this season after the striker missed four good chances in a friendly against Valencia on Wednesday.(The Sun) 
Livingston will today appeal against their relegation to the Third Division, forcing the Scottish Football League to postpone three opening-day fixtures. (The Sun) 
Burnley manager Owen Coyle will not release his three Scotland internationals from their pre-season fixture against St Johnstone ahead of the international side's World Cup qualifier against Norway. (Daily Record)
Manchester City's former Celtic striker Craig Bellamy has blamed Rangers' Lee McCulloch for a foot injury he picked up in Wednesday's friendly defeat at Ibrox. (Various)
Hull captain Ian Ashbee believes his career could be over as the 32-year-old is struggling to recover from a knee injury. (Daily Mail) 


Burnley striker Steve Thompson has been fined for drinking a fan's pint of beer on the club's pre-season tour of the United States. The 30-year-old fell over the advertising hoardings and took a swig from the fan's drink as a joke. (The Sun)