Tuesday's gossip column


Real Madrid are ready to capitalise on the growing rift between Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson and Nemanja Vidic by bidding for the defender. Vidic was a late withdrawal for Sunday's FA Cup match against Leeds, which United lost 1-0.(The Times) 
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez is keen to bring Atletico Madrid's Argentine winger Maxi Rodriguez to Anfield this January, initially on a short-term loan deal.(Daily Mirror) 
Tottenham will attempt to beat the Reds to Rodriguez's signature though by offering midfielder David Bentley on loan as part of the deal.(Daily Mail) 
Liverpool are also looking to offload player's during the transfer window with Italian left-back Andrea Dossena set to sign for Napoli in a £5m switch.(Goal.com) 
Birmingham will test Liverpool's desire to hold on to Ryan Babel by bidding £8m for the Dutch winger in January.(Independent) 
Birmingham are also set to tie up a £2.5m deal for Sporting Gijon's Spanish midfielder Michel but they have pulled out of a proposed move for Schalke striker Kevin Kuranyi.(Daily Mirror) 
Leeds have put a £2m price tag on FA Cup hero Jermaine Beckford after he scored the winner in the third round tie at Manchester United. Newcastle, Middlesbrough and Nottingham Forest all keen on the striker, who is out of contract in the summer.(Daily Mirror)
Newcastle though will win the race for Beckford's signature by paying Leeds £3m - double the asking price before his goal at Old Trafford.(The Guardian) 
Chelsea have been linked with a move for Italian striker Giampaolo Pazzini for £22m but Sampdoria will only let him leave if the 25-year-old is loaned back to them for the rest of the season.(Daily Mirror) 
Manchester City are in advanced discussions with Inter Milan to bring French midfielder Patrick Vieira back to the Premier League. Vieira left Arsenal for Juventus in 2005.(The Times) 
West Ham and Bolton are both chasing Portuguese striker Nuno Gomes, who is out of favour at Benfica and desperate for first-team football to boost his hopes of making his country's 2010 World Cup squad.(Daily Mirror) 
Stoke City have slapped a staggering £20m price tag on Ryan Shawcross in a bid to scare off the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Spurs, who are all keen on the defender.(Daily Express) 
Defender Matthew Upson's exit from West Ham appears to be gathering pace after Hammers boss Gianfranco Zola enquired about Stoke centre-back Robert Huth.(The Sun) 
Celtic are set to boost their Scottish Premier League title bid with a loan move for Stoke striker Dave Kitson.(Scottish Sun) 
Middlesbrough boss Gordon Strachan is setting up a move for his old Celtic striker Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink - in a loan switch from Hull City.(Daily Mirror) 
However, the Bhoys could be set to lose Australian striker Scott McDonald, who is wanted by Wigan.(Daily Mirror) 
The Latics are also poised to bid £3m for Leicester striker Matty Fryatt.(The Sun) 
Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has turned his back on a loan move to the Championship in favour of joining another Premier League club on a short term deal to prove to Gunners boss Arsene Wenger he can hack it at the top level.(Daily Mirror) 
Fulham hope to tie up a loan deal for Roma striker Stefano Okaka after the player's agent revealed his client was keen on the move.(The Sun) 


Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is set to axe seven players for Wednesday's Carling Cup semi-final with bitter rivals Manchester City following his side's humiliating defeat by Leeds in the third round of the FA Cup. Striker Dimitar Berbatov and right-back Gary Neville head the list of those for the chop.(The Sun) 
Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini is set to hand a home debut to rookie defender Dedryck Boyata in the Carling Cup semi-final with United. City are without regular defenders Kolo Toure, Joleon Lescott and Nedum Onuoha due to injury.(Daily Mirror) 
Former Manchester City boss Mark Hughes has been offered a quick return to management - with the Turkish national team.(Daily Mirror) 
The Professional Football Association is on standby to hold emergency talks at Fratton Park today if Portsmouth's players are not paid their December wages by the club.(Daily Star) 
Chelsea midfielder Florent Malouda has held clear-the-air talks with manager Carlo Ancelotti and team-mate Frank Lampard after appearing to suggest he was being overlooked by the former and that the latter was given preferential treatment in a recent interview.(The Times) 
Former Newcastle striker Alan Shearer says he has no interest in taking the vacant manager's job at Sheffield Wednesday.(Daily Mirror) 
However, the Owls may well make a shock move for Crystal Palace boss Neil Warnock, who used to manage Wednesday's bitter rivals Sheffield United.(Daily Mail) 


An unlikely figure has offered to help Michael Owen in the Manchester United striker's bid to claim a place in Fabio Capello's 2010 World Cup squad. Former England cricket captain and United fan Geoff Boycott has written to Owen suggesting he try the ancient Chinese art of Feng Shui after the Test Match Special commentator utilised it during his recovery from cancer. (The Sun) 
Darts legend Phil Taylor, who claimed a record 15th world title on Sunday by winning the PDC world final, says he can help England win the World Cup this summer by delivering a rousing team talk to the players.(The Sun)