Friday's gossip column


Chelsea have given up on signing Franck Ribery and will concentrate on signing his £25m-rated Bayern Munich team-mate Bastian Schweinsteiger in January instead.(The Sun) 
Atletico Madrid striker Sergio Aguero expects to complete a £32m move to Chelsea next month.(The Sun) 
Chelsea are also considering a £20m swoop for Wolfsburg striker Edin Dzeko. (Daily Telegraph) 
Tottenham have made an £8m move for West Ham defender Matthew Upson but face competition for the England defender from Manchester City.(Daily Mirror) 
Manchester City could also renew their attempts to sign Hammers midfielder Scott Parker, one of their transfer targets last January, and are also eyeing Barcelona duo Carlos Puyol and Eric Abidal. (The Independent) 
City boss Mark Hughes will also target Fulham defender Brede Hangeland and out-of-favour Tottenham winger David Bentley in January.(The Times) 
Crystal Palace forward Victor Moses has attracted attention from Barcelona and German side Hoffenheim but wants to stay in England, with Tottenham keen on the £5m-rated teenager.(The Sun) 
Burnley manager Owen Coyle asked Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger if he could sign teenage Gunners midfielder Jack Wilshere on loan when they spoke just before kick-off at Turf Moor on Wednesday.(Daily Mirror) 
Nottingham Forest are set to make a £3m bid for Tottenham's Welsh defender Gareth Bale and will spend the same amount to turn Nicky Shorey's loan move from Aston Villa into a permananent move. (Daily Mirror) 
Wigan have opened talks with Argentine side Velez Sarsfield about signing Chilean defender Waldo Ponce.(Daily Mirror) 
Derby boss Nigel Clough has been told he will have to pay £800,000 for Bournemouth striker Brett Pitman. (The Sun)
Blackburn are leading the chase to sign 16-year-old Bosnian midfielder Marko Maletic from Dutch side De Graafschap, with Celtic also interested.(Daily Mirror) 
Ipswich hope to beat Wolves, Newcastle and Middlesbrough to the £2.5m signing of Derby striker Rob Hulse. (The Sun)
Charlton will take Livingston winger Andrew Halliday on trial in January with a view to signing him but face competition for the 18-year-old from Sunderland, Wigan, West Ham, Fulham, Rangers, Hearts and Hibs. (Daily Record) 


Manchester City boss Mark Hughes needs good results in his side's fixtures over the festive period - against Sunderland, Stoke and Wolves - to be sure of keeping his job.(The Guardian) 
City have already approached Guus Hiddink about replacing Hughes, according to the former Chelsea manager's agent.(Daily Telegraph) 
Manchester City want Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger as their next manager. (Daily Star) 
Dundee United boss Craig Levein says he won't become Scotland's new manager unless he is convinced he is the right man for the job.(Daily Record) 
Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher turned down an invitation from England boss Fabio Capello to reconsider his decision to retire from international football. (The Times) 
Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard has warned his side that they need to rediscover their killer instinct if they are to hold off a title challenge from champions Manchester United. (Daily Mirror) 
Former England manager Steve McClaren, currently in charge of Dutch side FC Twente, does not want his next job to be in the Premier League and would prefer to work in another foreign country, preferably Spain, next. (Daily Mail) 
Liverpool have insisted they are willing to invest the estimated £15m needed to upgrade Anfield to a World Cup venue for 2018 or 2022, should the club's proposed new stadium fail to materialise.(The Independent) 
Former Peterborough boss Darren Ferguson is favourite to become Reading's next manager following the departure of Brendan Rodgers. (Daily Mail) 
Premier League clubs will face a pre-World Cup fixture backlog if the weather causes postponements in the next few weeks as there are few free midweek slots to fit in rearranged games and the end of the domestic season has already been brought forward.(The Guardian)


Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson served Christmas dinner to the club's youth team at their Christmas panto, which saw United's youngsters mock their superstar club-mates in the senior squad.(The Sun) 
Wayne Rooney's in-laws are being tormented by their pet parrot, who keeps squawking the name of Rooney's son after the Manchester United and England striker taught the African Grey to say "Kai Wayne Rooney" for a laugh.(The Sun)