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Thursday's gossip column - transfers and rumours

TransfersOther gossipAnd finally

El CLASICO REACTION

"Look who's coming, Fergie" - Alongside a picture of two-goal Lionel Messi and his celebrating team-mates, the Sun marks Barcelona's victory over Real Madrid by warning Sir Alex Ferguson that his Manchester United side look set for a repeat of the 2009 Champions League final.

Messi's late heroics lit up a bad-tempered affair that The Sun calls "battle of Bernabeu" under the headline "IT'S ALL A BIT MESSI".

The Daily Mail delivers a damning assessment of a match which saw scuffles break out on both the pitch and touchline, with Real defender Pepe shown a straight red card and coach Jose Mourinho sent to the stands for his reaction - "Hell Clasico".

"BEAUTY AND THE BEASTS" is the verdict of the Daily Mirror, which hails "MAGICAL MESSI" and warns Manchester United to "BE AFRAID".

The Daily Telegraph takes a pop at Real Madrid Mourinho - "NOT SO SPECIAL NOW" - praises Messi - "Magnificent Messi makes mockery of Madrid tactics" - and then returns to Mourinho when attempting to apportion blame for the ill-discipline and malice on display - "Curse of Mourinho strikes again".

In the Guardian Paul Hayward writes that "The beautiful game has been warped by the poison of El Clasico".

"Barcelona ensure night of the long dives ends on a high note" says the Times, for whom Tony Cascarino writes a column entitled "Mourinho siege mentality means no Plan B for Real".

Also in The Times, Patrick Barclay highlights how how Messi overshadowed both Cristiano Ronaldo and Mourinho - "Magnificent Messi leaves rival in shade after Special One gets tactics in a twist".

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand was quick to vent his displeasure at the perceived play-acting on display at the Bernabeu. Barcelona's Pedro fell to the ground clutching his face after a harmless collision with Alvaro Arbeloa in the first half and Ferdinand used social networking site Twitter to say: "This diving is a joke/embarrassing. When Pedro watches that do you think he'll think 'What was I doing!?'"

It was a terrible night for Mourinho's side and, according to the Daily Mail, Uefa's website did its very best to make it even worse. Shortly after the game ended, it mistakenly doubled the result for Barcelona, claiming the Catalans had beaten Real 4-0. The error was later rectified.

TRANSFER GOSSIP

Chelsea are closing in on the £18m capture of 17-year-old Anderlecht striker Romelu Lukaku, who is being tracked by a host of top European clubs and has been labelled the 'new Didier Drogba'.
Full story: the Sun

And the Blues' chances of securing Netherlands full-back Gregory van der Wiel from Ajax appear to have been enhanced after reports in Germany that Bayern Munich, the defender's other principal suitor, have dropped their interest.
Full story: the Guardian

But winger Florent Malouda and striker Nicolas Anelka will be shown the door in a summer clear-out at Stamford Bridge.
Full story: Daily Mirror

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson will make a £24m bid to pip Bayern Munich to the signing of Schalke goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
Full story: Daily Star

An escalating war of words between Schalke and Bayern has given Manchester United the chance to lure Neuer to Old Trafford.
Full story: Daily Telegraph

Turkey midfielder Nurin Sahin, previously monitored by Chelsea and a possible summer target for Liverpool, could be free to leave current club Borussia Dortmund after the German league leaders lined up Nuremberg's Ilkay Gundogan as a replacement.
Full story: talkSPORT

Liverpool are also interested in a £5m move for Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton, with Reds manager Kenny Dalglish keen to reunite him with former Magpies team-mate Andy Carroll.
Full story: Daily Mail

Standard Liege midfielder Axel Witsel is being courted by Liverpool and AC Milan, who both hope to sign the 22-year-old this summer.
Full story: talkSPORT

Manchester City have identified Napoli striker Edison Cavani is a leading trasnfer target alongside Udinese forward Alexis Sanchez, although their pursuit of both players is likely to be heavily influenced by who leaves in the summer.
Full story: the Times (subscription)

Werder Bremen playmaker Marko Marin could be heading to Tottenham, with the 22-year-old's fine form and relative youth tempting manager Harry Redknapp.
Full story: Footy Latest

Meanwhile, Tottenham midfield anchorman Wilson Palacios is a £10m target for Serie A side Napoli who hope to exploit the Honduran's fall down the pecking order at White Hart Lane.
Full story: talkSPORT

And his fellow Spurs midfielder Niko Kranjcar could also be on his way out of White Hart Lane after failing to cement a permanent spot in Redknapp's plans this season. "I would definitely be interested in moving to Italy," he said. "I think I would adapt quickly to Italian football."
Full story: the Sun

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema could be lured to Arsenal by the offer of first-team football after struggling to establish himself in the starting line-up at the Bernabeu.
Full story: Caught Offside

Everton will make a summer move for Preston full-back Billy Jones.
Full story: the Sun

Blackburn have been warned that they will have to offer £7m if they are to secure the services of Malaga midfielder Jose Recio.
Full story: Daily Mail

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce has moved into pole position in the race to land Cardiff striker Jay Boothroyd on a free transfer at the end of the season.
Full story: Daily Mirror

Vladimir Weiss, who has been on loan to Rangers from Manchester City, could team up with his father at Spartak Moscow or Dynamo Moscow after Vladimir Snr, currently Slovakia coach, was tipped to move to Russian football. (Daily Record)

Celtic have pinpointed Republic of Ireland striker Shane Long as their number one transfer target, with the 24-year-old poised to leave Reading should they fail to win promotion to England's Premier League. (Daily Mail)

OTHER GOSSIP

Striker Wayne Rooney has admitted he was wrong to state his desire to leave Manchester United in October.
Full story: the Sun

West Ham will make a second move to tempt Martin O'Neill back into management at the end of the season even if Avram Grant keeps the club in the Premier League. And if the Hammers fail to get O'Neill they have identified Norwich City boss Paul Lambert as an alternative.
Full story: Daily Express

Porto coach Andre Villas Boas says reports linking him with a move to clubs in England or Italy are "absurd". The 33-year-old has attracted attention from the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool, Juventus and Roma after leading his team to the Portuguese title in his first full season.
Full story: the Sun

Despite manager Arsene Wenger's pleas for him to renew his contract, Arsenal assistant boss Pat Rice may be forced to retire as he struggles to manage a chronic knee problem.
Full story: Daily Mail

Arsenal defender Sebastien Squillaci is locked in a row with the French FA over unpaid World Cup bonuses. The France players were each promised £100,000 for reaching last summer's finals and Squillaci pledged to split the money between non-league clubs FC Seynois and Sporting Toulon Var, where he began his career. However, after Raymond Domenech's side crashed out at the group stage, the French Football Federation decided instead to divide the funds between various charities and amateur clubs.
Full story: the Sun

Craig Whyte's takeover of Rangers could be delayed by five more days because London's Stock Exchange will be closed due to the Royal Wedding. (Daily Record)

Craig Whyte wants to finalise a £33m takeover of Rangers before London's Stock Market closes at 4pm today because of the Royal Wedding. (the Sun)

Rangers will not be allowed to speak at the Uefa control and disciplinary body in Switzerland as it today considers charges of sectarian singing against the Scottish champions' fans and the club will have to rely on written submissions. (the Herald)

Rangers could be able to delay any Uefa fine and ban on their fans for sectarian singing by a season if they appeal against today's decision by European football's governing body as far as the Court of Arbitration for Sport. (Daily Mail)

AND FINALLY

Patrice Evra has vowed to sign up for yoga classes after team-mate Ryan Giggs put Manchester United within sight of the Champions League final. Giggs became the oldest player to score in the competition following his opener in the 2-0 win over Schalke on Tuesday and the midfielder insists yoga has helped prolong his top-level career.
Full story: the Sun

Schalke striker Raul admits the Red Devils were so good that his side could not even kick them. "Our keeper Manuel Neuer saved us in the first half," said the Spaniard. "We improved in the second half but they punished us twice - we couldn't even get close enough to kick them."
Full story: the Sun

Oasis star Noel Gallagher is set to go head-to-head with Tom Jones in a chart battle with opposing songs ahead of the FA Cup final. Gallagher is a lifelong Manchester City fan, while Jones's song Delilah was adopted as an unofficial anthem by Wembley opponents Stoke City many years ago.
Full story: Metro



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see also
Puyol fit to take on Real Madrid
26 Apr 11 |  Europe
Thursday's Scottish gossip
28 Apr 11 |  Scotland
Wednesday's gossip column
27 Apr 11 |  Gossip
Wednesday's Scottish gossip
27 Apr 11 |  Scotland
Tuesday's gossip column
26 Apr 11 |  Gossip
Tuesday's Scottish gossip
26 Apr 11 |  Scotland
Monday's gossip column
25 Apr 11 |  Gossip
Monday's Scottish gossip
25 Apr 11 |  Scotland
Sunday's gossip column
24 Apr 11 |  Gossip
Transfers - April 2011
04 Apr 11 |  Football


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