Monday's gossip column


Chelsea will make a £33m bid for Valencia striker David Villa - but the Spain international would prefer a move to Manchester United.(Daily Mirror) 
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has identified Schalke goalkeeper Manuel Neuer as the candidate he believes is best qualified to succeed Edwin van der Sar at Old Trafford.(Daily Mail) 
Manchester City manager Mark Hughes is keen to sign Osasuna's £10m-rated right-back Cesar Azpilicueta. (Daily Mirror) 
City winger Robinho could be on his way to Barcelona after Hughes attended Barca's draw with Osasuna on Saturday and met with club president Joan Laporta and sporting director Tiki Beguiristain.(El Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish)) 
Coventry striker Leon Best, whose contract ends next summer, is a target for Middlesbrough manager Gordon Strachan.(Daily Mirror) 


Former Liverpool midfielder Ronnie Whelan believes Reds manager Rafael Benitez's days at the club "have got to be numbered".(Various) 
Benitez's future at Anfield will be determined over the next three games amid growing concern from potential investors over Liverpool's worst sequence of results for more than 50 years.(Daily Mail) 
Injury problems mean Benitez could be without 12 players for Wednesday's critical Champions League meeting with Lyon. (Daily Express) 
The Football Association are examining the situation of Werder Bremen forward Aaron Hunt, who was born in Germany and has represented them a Under-16, Under-17 and Under-21 level but would qualify to play for England through his English mother.(Daily Mail) 
Arsenal striker Robin van Persie is desperate to face former team-mate Emmanuel Adebayor, who was banned for three matches after catching the Dutchman with his boot earlier this season, when the Gunners meet Manchester City in the Carling Cup quarter-finals.(The Sun)  
Hull manager Phil Brown will be given 90 minutes to save his job after new chairman Adam Pearson told him he will be in charge for Sunday's match against Stoke. Brown's side are currently third from bottom in the Premier League.(Various) 
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp is confident his side can still finish in the Premier League's top four this season despite being brushed aside by Arsenal on Saturday.(The Times) 
Portsmouth have denied a report that the £15m loan provided to the club by Balram Chainrai has effectively given the Hong Kong-based businessman control at Fratton Park.(The Times) 
Crystal Palace players have been left waiting for their wages for the second time in four months. (Daily Star)
Midfielder Alan Smith has revealed how an angry meeting of Newcastle players after the club's pre-season defeat at Leyton Orient, at which want-away stars were told to leave, was "a massive turning point" for the Championship club.(Daily Mirror) 
Peterborough manager Darren Ferguson was called to a meeting with his bosses on Sunday night as fears grew that he would be sacked for his side's poor start to the Championship season.(Daily Mirror) 
Dennis Wise is the favourite to replace Russell Slade, who was sacked as Brighton manager on Sunday.(Various) 
But former Reading manager Steve Coppell is understood to be Brighton's top target to replace Slade.(The Times) 


Arsenal winger Theo Walcott has splashed out on a new car for his girlfriend Melanie Slade's 21st birthday - upgrading her Volkswagen Beetle for a £140,000 Ferrari.(The Sun) 

Zenit St Petersburg midfielder Danny has recovered from a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament sustained in May but the club's insurance policy has prevented him from playing. The terms of the policy mean that he is not permitted to play within six months of sustaining his injury.(The Independent)