Sunday's gossip column


Fernando Torres will become the most expensive player in the world if he leaves Liverpool in the summer. Chelsea and Manchester City have made the Spanish striker their number one target, but would have to splash out £140m in transfer fees and wages. (News of the World) 
Inter Milan manager Jose Mourinho is trying to pull off a shock £40m move for Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard. The former Chelsea boss is hoping Gerrard may want a move if the Reds fail to qualify for next season's Champions League. (Sunday Express) 
Manchester United are weighing up a £20m move for Porto's Brazilian striker Hulk. The 23-year-old, whose real name is Givanildo Viera de Souza, is also highly rated by Arsenal. He is called Hulk because he looks like the 1970s Incredible Hulk actor Lou Ferrigno (Kids, ask your dad). (News of the World) 
Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti is lining up a £4m bid for Aston Villa striker Emile Heskey as a replacement for Didier Drogba, who will be absent for four weeks at the Africa Cup of Nations.(The Mail on Sunday) 
However, the Blues have told Bayern Munich midfielder Franck Ribery that they will not break their pay structure to sign him. Chelsea are prepared to pay a £45m transfer fee, but will cap his wages at only £150,000-a-week. (The People)
Arsenal target Marouane Chamakh, 25, has said the Gunners are "pressurising" him to join them - but he will ignore them to stay with Bordeaux. The Morocco striker says five other Premier League clubs have approached him - Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool, Everton and Sunderland. (The People) 
Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini is keen to renew his relationship with former Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira. Mancini coached the now 33-year-old to two Serie A titles after signing him for Inter Milan in 2006. (The Mail on Sunday) 
Mancini is also aiming to bring in £6m-rated defender Cristian Ansaldi, 23, from Russian side Ruban Kazan.(News of the World) 
A Manchester City insider has also urged Mancini to sign Stoke centre-back Ryan Shawcross, 22. (Sunday Mirror) 
Aston Villa and Manchester City are ready to lock horns over West Brom's highly-rated young defender Paul Downing, 18, this month.(Sunday Mirror) 
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez is now unlikely to move for Holland striker Ruud van Nistelrooy, 33, in the transfer window, with the striker's recent injury record counting against him. (News of the World) 
Benitez is instead keen to bring Emile Heskey back to Anfield, although Aston Villa's price tag of at least £5m could be beyond what Liverpool can afford.(The Mail on Sunday) 
Portsmouth will listen to offers for all of their players as the club lurches deeper into crisis. And goalkeeper David James will be the first to go, reuniting with former boss Harry Redknapp, for a nominal fee, at Tottenham. (News of the World) 
Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce is keen to sign Eidur Gudjohnsen. The 31-year-old Iceland international, who is currently at Monaco, played for Allardyce at Bolton 10 years ago.(News of the World) 
Hull City are plotting an ambitious £1.5m swoop for American striker Freddy Adu. The 20-year-old was sent out on loan by Benfica to fellow Portuguese club Belenenses but he has been axed him from their squad. (News of the World) 
Wigan boss Roberto Martinez intends to offer Leicester £3m for Matty Fryatt. Martinez knows the striker, 23, from their time together at Walsall a few years ago. (News of the World) 
Sunderland manager Steve Bruce is prepared to wait until the summer to sign Middlesbrough's England Under-21 winger Adam Johnson. (Sunday Mirror) 
Crystal Palace remain hopeful that their £3m-rated winger Victor Moses will be sold in the transfer window to stop the club going bust. Barcelona, Wigan and Tottenham have been tracking the England Under-19 international. (Sunday Express) 


Fulham boss Roy Hodgson is being lined up to succeed Fabio Capello as England manager after this year's World Cup in South Africa. (The People) 
Burnley boss Owen Coyle was spotted in the tunnel 45 minutes after the Clarets' 2-1 FA Cup third round win at MK Dons, fuelling speculation that he is set to take over succeed Gary Megson as Bolton manager. Coyle had missed the post-match press conference with his club saying he had to leave early to catch a flight to Scotland.(The Mail on Sunday) 
Bolton will make a formal approach for Coyle on Sunday but Burnley will demand £4m compensation. (News of the World) 
The Clarets meanwhile, are poised to report Bolton to the Premier League for tapping up Coyle. (Sunday Mirror) 
Alan Curbishley will hold talks with Bolton chairman Phil Gartside about taking over as manager at the Reebok Stadium. The 52-year-old has been out of work since leaving West Ham in 2008. (Sunday Express)
Former Birmingham owners David Sullivan and David Gold are on the brink of gaining control at West Ham after the club's Icelandic owners agreed to sell a 50% stake in the Premier League side. The £50m deal is still subject to formal ratification. (Sunday Mirror) 
The 25 Premier League footballers who are set to play in the Africa Cup of Nations later this month will be given 24-hour protection by armed guards to protect them from gun gangs in Angola. (Sunday Express) 
Manchester United owners, the Glazer family, have asked banks to help them raise £600m in a bid to cut the massive debts they owe financial institutions. (The Mail on Sunday) 
Carlo Ancelotti has pleaded with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich to stick with him as coach for the long haul and give him chance to build a dynasty to match Sir Alex Ferguson's at Manchester United. (Sunday Express) 
Liverpool are lining up Ian Rush for a shock return to the club as a striker coach. Rush has held talks over the position he previously held under Gerard Houllier. (News of the World) 


Manchester United-supporting vicar Father Paddy McMahon welcomed Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini into his midnight mass service at St John's Roman Catholic church in Chorlton on Christmas Eve. "The congregation gave him a round of applause so I said we'd pray for City to do well," said Father McMahon. "But not too well." (Sunday Express)