Wednesday's gossip column


Manchester City are ready to spark a cross-city battle with United for £24m-rated Roma striker Mirko Vucinic.(The Sun) 
Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce is making a move for £6m-rated Estudiantes striker Mauro Boselli as he plans for a new-look attack. Birmingham were chasing the Argentina international in January's transfer window. (Daily Mirror) 
Sheffield United are lining up a summer move for Sunderland defender Phil Bardsley. The former Manchester United right-back, 24, is out of favour at the Stadium of Light.(Daily Mail) 
Tottenham are ready to splash out £2m on Notts County goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel and then loan him back to the League Two outfit.(Daily Mirror) 
Spurs are also keen on £5m-rated Atletico Madrid keeper Sergio Asenjo to come in as back up Heurelho Gomes.(The Sun) 
QPR manager Neil Warnock wants to sign nine players for a total of £10m during the summer. He is targeting Scunthorpe striker Gary Hooper plus Julian Speroni, Nathaniel Clyne, Darren Ambrose and Neil Danns of his former club Crystal Palace.(Daily Mirror) 
Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez is keen to snap up Bolton's South Korean winger Lee Chung-Yong for £8m to help provide extra creativity and more firepower for his strikers.( 
Bolton boss Owen Coyle wants to sign Burnley's 30-year-old defender Clarke Carlisle, who is out of contract at the end of the season. (The Sun) 
Patrick Vieira, 33, expects to remain at Manchester City next season despite interest from America. (IM Scouting) 
Chelsea and Manchester City are tracking 22-year-old Bari defender Leonardo Bonucci. (IM Scouting) 
Birmingham and Sunderland face competition from Italian side Juventus in the race to sign German striker Kevin Kuranyi from Schalke.(IM Scouting) 


Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley will allow a summer spending spree at St James' Park to try to ensure Premier League survival next season, despite being reluctant to return to the days of the club's high-spending past.(The Guardian)
Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has played in a secret 11-a-side friendly and could be on the bench for Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final second leg against Bayern Munich.(Daily Mirror) 
And Rooney has been driving United manager Sir Alex Ferguson crazy with his pleas to make him a substitute for the Old Trafford clash.(Daily Mail)
Liverpool striker Fernando Torres has blamed the club's failure to challenge for the Premier League title squarely at the feet of the Anfield outfit's owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks.(Daily Mirror) 
Referee Mike Dean has been demoted from officiating in the Premier League this weekend. Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson called his performance "poor" in their 2-1 defeat by Chelsea on Saturday, while Dean also awarded Blackburn a questionable penalty in their 1-0 win over Burnley the week before.
Simon Beck, who failed to flag Didier Drogba offside for Chelsea's second goal, has also been demoted and both will officiate at Bristol City this weekend. (Daily Mail)


Burnley midfielder Kevin McDonald has apologised after wandering to a pub with his family after leaving Turf Moor following his half-time substitution on Saturday. The 21-year-old was fined for his walkout during the fixture against Manchester City, which the Clarets lost 6-1.(The Times)