Friday's gossip column


Arsenal have targeted Inter Milan frontman Mario Balotelli, with their scouts believed to have watched the £20m-rated star last week. Manager Arsene Wenger is also understood to be keen on Ajax's 21-year-old defender Gregory van der Wiel.(The Sun) 
The Gunners are also tracking Belgian 18-year-old midfielder Eden Hazard, who currently plays for French club Lille.(Daily Mirror) 
Leeds striker Jermaine Beckford could be on for a shock move to Portuguese side Sporting Braga.(Daily Mirror) 
Manchester City boss Mark Hughes has begun talks with Bulgarian midfielder Martin Petrov over a new contract which expires next summer. (Daily Express) 
Aston Villa and Birmingham are going head-to-head in trying to grab the services of Cheltenham 18-year-old striker Theo Lewis. (Daily Star)


Liverpool fans, unhappy with co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, are planning a 10,000-strong protest march on Sunday ahead of the Manchester United match.Fans' group Spirit of Shankly is believed to be drumming up support after hearing the Americans will be attending their crunch game. The Reds are on a run of four successive defeats for the Anfield club amid continuing unrest regarding the club's future.(Daily Mail) 
Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina has been assured by referees' chief Keith Hackett that security staff at Anfield are on red alert to deal with any balloons and beach balls.(Daily Mail) 
England have tried to revive their bid to host the 2018 World Cup by including Germany captain Michael Ballack on the list of ambassadors. It is a list without any players from England's 1966 World Cup winning squad.(Daily Express) 
Sven Goran Eriksson's former assistant Hans Backe is favourite to replace Ian McParland as manager of Notts County. (Daily Mail) 


Argentina boss Diego Maradona has refused to say sorry for his outburst live on TV, aimed at the media who have criticised the team on their way to scraping into the World Cup finals.
"I don't regret it," he said. "I apologise to the ladies but not to those who talk about football on TV."(The Sun)