Thursday's gossip column


Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson will try to lure Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema to Old Trafford with the prospect of more regular first-team football.(L'Equipe in French) 
Wolfsburg coach Lorenz Gunther Kostner is desperate for striker Edin Dzeko to reject a summer move to Chelsea or Manchester City.(The Sun) 
Sporting Lisbon will attempt to sign Chelsea goalkeeper Hilario this summer.(Abola in Portuguese)
Spartak Moscow manager Valery Karpin has hit out at Liverpool winger Albert Riera over his wage demands and ruled out signing the Spaniard before the transfer window closes on Thursday. (Daily Mail) 
Feyenoord's £5m-rated midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum admits it would be a "dream" to move to Liverpool after catching the eye of the club's scouts.(Daily Mirror) 
Blackburn midfielder Moten Gamst Pedersen has been offered £25,000 a week to join Olympiakos this summer, while Fenebahce, Palermo and Fiorentina are also interested.(The Sun) 
Tottenham have been told it will cost £5m to land Atletico Madrid keeper Sergio Asenjo.(Daily Star) 
Aston Villa midfielder Nigel Neo-Coker plans to see out the remaining year of his £2m-a-year contract at Villa Park despite the club's desire to recoup some of the £7.5m they paid West Ham for the player in 2007.(Daily Star) 
Sunderland have launched a bid to sign highly sought after Udinese winger Simone Pepe, with Black Cats boss Steve Bruce keen to make a statement of intent with a £15m bid.(Daily Mail) 
Wolves are trailing Southampton's £2m-rated England Under-21 midfielder Adam Lallana, who has scored 18 goals this season and is also being watched by Tottenham and Fulham. (Daily Mail) 
Leeds manager Simon Grayson is preparing a summer move for Swindon striker Billy Paynter. (The Sun)


Burnley manager Brian Laws is on the brink of being sacked, barely three months after he was appointed at Turf Moor, following a run of only one win in 14 games.(Daily Mail) 
Arsenal will make significant changes on and off the pitch this summer, with boss Arsene Wenger ready to make central defence a transfer priority and Stan Kroenke poised to make a pivotal decision in the long-term battle for control of the club.(Daily Telegraph) 
Forward Lionel Messi, who tormented Arsenal with all four goal's in Barca's 4-1 victory at the Nou Camp, says he is aiming to get even better and claimed he still needed to work hard on his game.(Daily Star) 
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has hinted he may quit Anfield unless the club invests in new players this summer.(The Sun) 
Bentiez has admitted for the first time that he feels he has taken Liverpool as far as he can after six years of "wheeling and dealing", insisting the club will not be able to compete for the Premier League or Champions League without the cash injection provided by fresh investment.(Daily Telegraph) 
Reds captain Steven Gerrard sees goalkeeper Pepe Reina one day becoming the club's skipper.(The Sun) 
Aaron Lennon is set to give Tottenham and England a huge boost by featuring in Sunday's FA Cup semi-final against Portsmouth after recovering from a groin injury that has kept the winger out for over three months.(Daily Mirror) 
Birmingham boss Alex McLeish has warned that keeper Joe Hart's career could suffer if he is forced to return to Manchester City when his loan deal expires at the end of the season.(The Sun) 
McLeish looks set to clash with the Blues board over Estudiantes striker Mauro Boselli. Blues owner Carson Yeung set-up a £10m deal in January to sign Boselli but McLeish refused to sanction the purchase having never seen the Argentine forward play and the transfer was eventually scrapped. But Yeung's associates are trying to revive a new move for Boselli in the summer.(Daily Mirror) 
Yeung is ready to go to the High Court to seek £5m in compensation from former Blues co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold, who are now in charge at West Ham, in relation to bills and liabilities he inherited.(Daily Mirror) 


Argentina legend and current national team manager Diego Maradona says Lionel Messi is "the best in the world", adding that Barcelona's Argentine forward "is playing kick-about with Jesus".(The Sun) 
Tottenham and England striker Peter Crouch will bring back his robot dance goal celebration - if he scores in the World Cup final. "I'd definitely pull out the robot in the World Cup final. I might even have to work on some new moves just in case that happens. But I doubt I'd have time to think about how to react if I scored."(The Sun) 
Arsenal forward Carlos Vela could face disciplinary action from the club after he lost his passport and was unable to take his place in the Gunners squad for Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final second leg in Barcelona.(Daily Mirror) 
England midfielder Steven Gerrard has bought a share in his favourite restaurant in Southport, Merseyside. The Liverpool captain now plans to reopen it with a New York theme in time for the World Cup.(Daily Mail) 
Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien has revealed how his brother refuses to eat and locks himself in his room if the Blues lose. (Daily Express)