Thursday's gossip column

face a battle to hold on to Ashley Cole, with the left-back worn down by speculation in England surrounding his private life and Real Madrid, Barcelona, AC Milan, Roma and Bayern Munich all interested in signing him.
Arsenal are interested in Lorient's £8m-rated centre-back Laurent Koscielny, 24, who is eligible to play for Poland and France.
Spain striker Fernando Torres has sparked a new round of speculation over his future by refusing to rule out a summer move from Liverpool.
Arsenal have risked alienating Spain midfielder Cesc Fabregas after refusing to discuss their skipper's transfer with Barcelona.
But Fabregas is hoping to secure a £40m move to Barcelona by toeing the line at Arsenal and refusing to be drawn into further discussion about a move.
Chelsea's out-of-contract midfielder Joe Cole has been told he must lower his £5m-a-year pay demands if he wants to join Tottenham.
Liverpool and Tottenham are battling to sign Croatia goalkeeper Marijan Antolovic, 21, who plays for Cibalia.
West Ham have had a bid of £5m turned down for Everton striker Yakubu, with Toffees boss David Moyes wanting closer to the £11.25m he paid Middlesbrough for the Nigerian.
Everton are being linked with a move for Marseille's France winger Hatem Ben Afra, 23, who has a price tag of £10m.
Birmingham manager Alex McLeish will offer Wigan £8m for French midfielder Charles N'Zogbia.
Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce's hopes of signing Spain midfielder Guti from Real Madrid look doomed after the player said he wants to stay in Spain.
Newcastle are set to launch a £3.5m bid for Manchester City defender Nedum Onuoha, 23, and the Magpies are also favourites to land out-of-contract Rangers striker Kris Boyd, 26, on a free transfer.
Cardiff are preparing a shock move to try to take striker Craig Bellamy back to his hometown from Manchester City in a £7m deal.
Middlesbrough boss Gordon Strachan is hoping to pip his former club Celtic to the £2.5m signing of Scunthorpe striker Gary Hooper, 22. (Daily Mail)
Newly promoted Leeds are ready to rival Burnley for Derby striker Rob Hulse in a £1.5m deal.
Rangers boss Walter Smith has told Liverpool they will need to offer at least £5m for defender Danny Wilson, 18. Smith has also rejected Middlesbrough's advances for midfielder Kevin Thomson but will allow Algeria defender Madjid Bougherra to leave. (Daily Record)


Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti has identified England manager Fabio Capello as the "ideal candidate" to replace their Real Madrid-bound coach Jose Mourinho and will offer the Italian a £9m-a-year contract.
Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole's chances of going to the World Cup are hanging in the balance after he was not guaranteed a starting place against Japan on Sunday - England final warm-up game before this summer's tournament.
Former MK Dons boss Paul Ince has emerged as a contender to succeed Avram Grant at Portsmouth after talks with the club's administrator.
Phil Brown, who was put on gardening leave in March, has agreed an £800,000 compensation deal with Hull City - ending all hope of him making a shock return as manager.
Meanwhile, Egypt striker Mido plans to see out the last year of his contract at Middlesbrough, which will cost the club £1.3m.


Argentina coach Diego Maradona has promised to run naked in the centre of Buenos Aires if his team win the World Cup in South Africa.