Monday's gossip column


Arsenal striker Robin van Persie has told Dutch television he is now "medically fit" and will return to training this week following his long injury lay-off.(IMScouting) 


Midfielder Joe Cole, 28, will be the first victim of a "purge of older players" at Chelsea now that their Champions League dream has ended for another season.(The Times) 
Birmingham manager Alex McLeish concedes a move for Tottenham striker Roman Pavlyuchenko has been shelved because of the striker's red-hot form.(Daily Mirror) 
Derby boss Nigel Clough wants to sign former Rams striker Tommy Smith from crisis-club Portsmouth on loan for the rest of the season.(Daily Mirror) 
Blackburn are keen on 24-year-old Egyptian playmaker Shikabala. (Daily Mail) 
Roma and Celtic are lining up to swoop for Portsmouth full-back Nadi Belhadj, thought to be available for £2m. (Daily Mail)


Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney raised concerns over his fitness as he limped away from Old Trafford after his side's 2-1 victory over Liverpool.(Daily Mail) 
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez has hit out at England boss Fabio Capello for not looking to keeper Chris Kirkland.(Daily Mail) 
West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola paid Arsenal the ultimate tribute by claiming they are a better footballing team than his beloved Chelsea.(Daily Mirror) 
Lionel Messi underlined the Champions League task Arsenal face with a hat-trick in Barcelona's 4-2 away win over Real Zaragoza - but Manchester United fans may take heart from Bayern Munich's 2-1 defeat by Eintracht Frankfurt, the former's first Bundesliga loss in 20 games. (The Times) 


If England reach the 2010 World Cup final, fans watching them go all the way could pay as much as £6,400 - or £3,000 just to see one group game.(The Sun) 
A band of 180 Rochdale fans walked the 14 miles to see their side face Accrington Stanley on Saturday, to be rewarded with six goals and two sendings-off in a 4-2 victory. (Daily Mail) 
Reading's Matthew Mills, under fire having gestured obscenely at a section of the club's own supporters in their midweek victory over QPR, vaulted advertising boards to hand his shirt to fans as a peace offering after their 1-1 draw at Middlesbrough. (Daily Express)