Wayne Rooney seems set to appear for England this week, despite his absence from recent Manchester United games.
As we get ever closer to this week’s selection of international friendlies, the newspapers are dominated by two high-profile players with doubts surrounding their fitness.
Elsewhere, it appears Luis Suarez has adopted a new approach in his own bid to be granted an exit from Liverpool, while there is plenty of activity around the other Premier League clubs as activity heats up ahead of the start of the new campaign this weekend.
There are plenty other teams and players in the news, and we’ve got all of the angles covered in Tuesday’s edition of the Summer Transfer Gossip Roundup.
Samuel Eto'o is open to working with Jose Mourinho again.
A few of the newspapers have got themselves very excited about comments from Samuel Eto’o, with the Cameroon international seemingly opening the door to a move to Chelsea.
The Daily Mirror have picked up on quotes Eto’o gave to the press on Monday, suggesting he would love to leave Anzhi Makhachkala for the Premier League. The phrase "a come-and-get-me plea" may have also been used in some quarters.
"Chelsea are a great team," said the Cameroonian. "When we have all the offers on the table then I will discuss with my agent and see what my next step is."
Why does Eto’o fancy the switch to Stamford Bridge? To link up once again with Jose Mourinho, it seems. The pair enjoyed a fruitful relationship during their time at Inter Milan.
There is only one Jose Mourinho. I have played under a lot of great coaches - but there is no other character in the game like Jose.
He is one of the best coaches in the world - and we had a lot of success together at Inter Milan. I would like to have the chance to play under him again - because it is never boring when Jose is around.
Gary Neville is desperate to see Wayne Rooney stay at Old Trafford.
If Eto’o did sign for Chelsea, that would seemingly reduce—or even erase entirely—the prospect of Wayne Rooney getting the move for which he is pining. The 27-year-old is currently away on England duty, where the mere fact of being near Roy Hodgson (or away from David Moyes, as the case may be) seems to have cured some of his recent injury ills.
Because of injury, Rooney was unable to take part in the Community Shield (or, prior to that, United’s preseason tour of Asia), but he should make a miraculous recovery in time to play against Scotland at Wembley.
On Rooney's injury, Hodgson is quoted by ESPN as saying:
It's difficult to assess with the naked eye how match-fit people are, but there's no doubt in my mind that he's not suffering from a physical injury.
It will be interesting to get the feedback from our training sessions and we can see how he looks. We'll speak with Wayne tomorrow morning.
However, there was a note of caution: "Since he's got over the injuries he's not been able to train as intensively as we did today, so we'll see how that pans out.”
With Rooney’s future still up for debate, two former United players are in agreement that he cannot be sold. Both Gary Neville and Dwight Yorke have implored the former Everton man to remain where he is.
Neville told the Daily Mail:
Manchester United, at this moment in time, would be mad to sell him. Along with Robin van Persie, he has been the most successful player in terms of goals and assists in the last five years of the Premier League.
He is a massive contributor to games and you can't replace personalities. There are very few personalities in football now, big personalities, fighters, he is one of them.
Yorke chimed in to the Daily Star: “I just simply feel that United can’t afford to let him leave. Not just to Chelsea but to anybody. I think he is that valuable a player.”
Gareth Bale will not play for Wales this week.
While Rooney has seemingly beaten off his injury ailments to be fit to represent his country, that is not the case for Gareth Bale.
Bale has trained with the Wales squad this week—with fans scaling fences around the training ground to get a glimpse of their hero—but he will not be fit enough to take part in Wednesday’s game against the Republic of Ireland.
A statement from the Welsh FA read: "Gareth was keen to join up with the squad and Tottenham were more than happy for him to do so. He trained alone and will not feature in the game on Wednesday."
Reports indicated the Tottenham winger was wary of doing further damage to a foot ailment that has been troubling him recently, although the ongoing prospect of an £85 million move to Real Madrid might also be factoring into his thinking.
Ireland’s Glenn Whelan appeared in little doubt why Bale may skip the game, as reported by the London Evening Standard:
I am not too sure he will play. He has got a big-money move lined up. No one knows if it is on or off but if I was Gareth I would maybe be a little wary of playing before any deal is made.
Bale might be in for a shock though, if The Telegraph is correct. Spanish football reporter Pete Jenson claims Carlo Ancelotti has told Real's board he does not want the Welshman. The report reads:
Real Madrid’s interest in Gareth Bale appears to be cooling after head coach Carlo Ancelotti told club president Florentino Pérez that he did not consider the Tottenham player integral to his plans this season.
Ancelotti’s comments, which are understood to have been made in a meeting with Perez at the end of the club’s US tour, follow Cristiano Ronaldo’s refusal to publicly endorse the signing last week and a change in public opinion in Madrid.
Luis Suarez will not be speaking about his future this week.
In terms of official bids, neither Bale nor Rooney’s moves are as far along as Luis Suarez’s, with the Uruguayan subject to formal interest from Arsenal.
Asked to apologise by Liverpool for recent comments he made about wanting to leave before he is allowed to rejoin the squad, it seems the forward is opting for a different tact, according to Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail. He writes:
Luis Suarez has imposed a blanket ban on discussing his attempts to leave Liverpool during the international break.
The wantaway striker has joined up with the Uruguay squad ahead of Wednesday's friendly against Japan, despite the fact he is carrying a foot injury.
International breaks are often used by disgruntled players to air their grievances away from the umbrella of their parent clubs.
But Suarez, who has been vocal in his attempts to leave the club, will this week refuse to answer questions with regards to his future.
The paper reports that Suarez’s agent, Pere Guardiola, is set for further talks with Liverpool at the end of this week in the hopes of finding his client a path out of Anfield.
Suarez is banned for the opening six games of the season.
Luiz Gustavo could be the latest Brazilian to move to the Premier League
The Telegraph appears confident that Arsenal will tie up a deal for Bayern Munich's Luiz Gustavo before the Premier League season kicks off on Saturday.
Jeremy Wilson writes:
The Brazil holding midfielder has slipped down the midfielder pecking order at Bayern after the arrival of Barcelona’s Thiago Alcantara alongside Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martínez.
Wenger knows that his team were especially reliant on Mikel Arteta in the holding midfield position last season and Gustavo would effectively be the replacement for Alex Song, who was sold to Barcelona last summer.
Wilson adds that Arsenal considered Toulouse's Etienne Capoue and had previously seen a bid for Bayer Leverkusen's Lars Bender rejected, but they have been encouraged by Gustavo's apparent willingness to move to Arsenal.
On Monday, Gustavo was quoted by Sky Sports expressing his admiration for the Gunners, adding that he wants to be sure of first-team football as he bids for a place in Brazil's World Cup squad.
My contract with Bayern runs until 2015 but it is very important that I play first-team football to keep getting called up for Brazil. I am in a very delicate situation at Bayern and this needs sorting out. I have personal and professional reasons to move.
I have heard about the Arsenal interest. It's a big club we're talking about here so of course I'd like to play for them.
The London Evening Standard is not so confident, however, warning that Napoli could pull off a repeat of their swoop for Gonzalo Higuain and steal Gustavo away to Serie A. Bayern have revealed that the enforcer has also had offers from "Spain, Russia and Germany."
Schalke may have to ward off bids for Kyriakos Papadopoulos.
Suarez’s teammate, Daniel Agger, will not be looking to the striker for tips on how to leave Liverpool. Manager Brendan Rodgers is adamant the rumoured Barcelona target will be staying on Merseyside.
Rodgers said, according to the Daily Mirror:
Daniel has given me his word that he loves Liverpool and I will expect him to be here. He had chances to leave, but told me as long as we wanted him here, then he wanted to stay. He’s been brilliant, that is why we have given him the vice-captaincy. The one thing I got from him from the very first conversation is loyalty.
That is why he signed a new contract and committed himself to the club, and why we gave him a new contract - because we want him to be part of our future.
Agger has previously been linked with Manchester City, but the club will be looking elsewhere for their defensive reinforcements.
An injury to Matija Nastasic, coupled with some horrible defensive displays in preseason, has Manuel Pellegrini scouting a number of players. That’s according to David Anderson, who writes in the Mirror:
The new City boss [Manuel Pellegrini], who has watched his side ship eight goals in their last three pre-season games, has been frustrated in a summer-long pursuit of his defensive top target, Real Madrid's Pepe, by the Spanish giants' refusal to sell.
He has drawn up a list of alternatives believed to include Schalke’s coveted Greece international Kyriakos Papadopoulos, who has been tracked by Liverpool, and Napoli skipper Paolo Cannavaro.
City might find themselves in a bidding war if they opt for Papadopoulos, though. Schalke’s sporting director Horst Heldt warned: “There are a lot of clubs to take into account.”
Liverpool may miss out on Diego Contento.
According to Marca, Liverpool target Diego Costa has reached a verbal agreement to stay at Atletico Madrid—despite an offer from Brendan Rodgers.
The striker was apparently intrigued by the greater financial rewards on offer from the Premier League, with Liverpool's proposal leading him to instruct his agent to approach Atletico about a better deal.
The newspaper reports:
Costa was a little nervous about some of the offers that the club had received over the summer for his services, particularly those that promised to greatly increase his current salary. The most interesting offer came from Liverpool and forced his agent to contact the club and make a formal proposal on a contract extension.
However, strict financial regulations currently in place in Spanish football mean that, while the player and club have agreed a new contract, it cannot yet be formalised. That perhaps offers Rodgers a glimmer of hope.
The club are also waiting to discover if they will be successful in a loan bid for Bayern Munich's Diego Contento. Express reports that the move is dependent on Contento's Bayern teammate, Luiz Gustavo.
If the midfielder leaves—and Arsenal and Napoli are among a host of clubs confident of concluding a deal—then Contento will not be allowed to depart the Allianz Arena.
"We will only let one player leave," Bayern chief Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told Bild.
Darren Bent could end up at Crystal Palace.
West Brom have completed their rumoured loan swoop for Matej Vydra, as confirmed by the club's official website.
Newcastle have been thwarted in their attempts to sign Bafetimbi Gomis, with the striker on the verge of signing a new contract with Lyon, according to The Times (subscription required).
Sunderland's Paolo di Canio has further amended his squad by bringing in right-back Ondrej Celustka from Trabzonspor. Crystal Palace had been interested in the 24-year-old.
Palace may yet enjoy some transfer window delight, however, as they near a loan deal for Darren Bent. According to The Telegraph, Ian Holloway has made an "ambitious" offer that will see the Eagles pay Bent's entire salary for the duration of his loan—something Aston Villa may find acceptable.
Elsewhere, the BBC has a report claiming "a third of Championship and League One owners are considering selling their clubs."