Friday's gossip column


Manchester City have joined rivals Manchester United in the race to sign teenage Nigeria midfielder Ramon Azeez, who is tied to the Future Pro Academy in his native country.(Daily Mail) 
Real Madrid will look to soften the blow of this week's Champions League exit by launching a bid to lure striker Wayne Rooney from Manchester United, according to the Spanish daily 'Sport'.(imscouting) 
Manchester United target Igor Akinfeev will be offered a new contract by CSKA Moscow in a bid to ensure they don't lose the goalkeeper for nothing.(Daily Mail) 
Zenit St Peterburg midfielder Danny wants to reignite a £25m move to Chelsea after recovering from a career-threatening knee injury.(Daily Mail) 
Doncaster, QPR, Middlesbrough and Leeds are all keen on Sheffield United's Nick Montgomery after the midfielder signalled his intent to leave this summer by refusing to sign a new deal with the Blades.(Daily Mail) 
Stoke are keen to bring former Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant back to England from Spanish side Real Zaragoza.(Daily Mirror) 
Derby boss Nigel Clough is set to sign Liverpool's young keeper David Martin in an emergency loan deal.(Daily Mirror) 


Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has had to rein in his usual all-action training regime to avoid suffering burnout. Rooney has started 43 matches already this season for club and country.(The Sun) 
Former Manchester United midfielder David Beckham will be invited to become the figurehead of the United fans' protest movement bidding to oust the Glazer family from Old Trafford. The AC Milan player donned a green and gold scarf - the symbol of the fans' protest - after Wednesday's Champions League match, which United won 4-0 to progress to the quarter-finals.(Various) 
The Manchester United fans' group are also keen to recruit other former United greats to their cause, including ex-goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel and striker Eric Cantona.(Daily Mail) 
England boss Fabio Capello is considering a World Cup call-up for Manchester United right-back Gary Neville amid fitness concerns over Liverpool full-back Glen Johnson and Neville's fellow United defender Wes Brown.(Daily Mail) 
Despite overseeing a stuttering campaign so far with Liverpool, Reds manager Rafa Benitez remains the chief target for Real Madrid, who will sack current boss Manuel Pellegrini in the summer.(The Sun) 
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has told Real Madrid not to bother with their annual bid to poach him, warning: "Leave me alone."(Daily Mirror) 
Portsmouth players are preparing to dip into their own pockets in a bid to keep up to eight members of the training ground staff in work until the end of the season. (Various)
Sunderland manager Steve Bruce has been told his job is safe - even if the club are relegated from the Premier League.(Daily Star) 
Birmingham manager Alex McLeish has ordered Blues striker Christian Benitez to clean up his act. Benitez was booked for going to ground in Birmingham's 2-1 win at Portsmouth on Tuesday.(The Sun) 
Former Derby County chairman Peter Gadsby is launching a £37m bid to regain power at Pride Park.(Daily Mail) 


Manchester United and England striker Wayne Rooney says his impressive goalscoring form this season is down to his receding hairline. 'It's coming off my bald patch and that's helping me score,' joked Rooney, whose first goal against Milan in the Champions League on Wednesday was the seventh in succession he has scored with his head.(Daily Mail)