Paper News and Gossip: A Pogba Fairytale, Bale Warfare and United's Deals
B/R awoke this Monday morning to find talk of Christmas in the papers, but it's not what you might expect.
There’s also plenty of transfer talk, while Gareth Bale is in the middle of a media battle.
Manchester United are hunting new signings, with one in particular that will raise eyebrows.
All this and more feature in Monday’s edition of the Paper News and Gossip Roundup.
Real Madrid at War with Marca over Gareth Bale Injury
Gareth Bale is headline news again, but probably not for the reasons he'd like.
The Mirror's Darren Lewis writes that Bale's club Real Madrid have become involved in a war of words with leading Spanish newspaper Marca.
According to Lewis, Marca ran a report that said world-record transfer Bale had a slipped disc which required surgery.
Bale has had niggling problems since his summer move to the Spanish capital and is currently sidelined with what the club said was a muscle strain.
In the light of the Marca story, Real issued a statement denying Bale's injury required an operation.
However, Marca is refusing to back down and, per Lewis' piece, it quotes Dr. Avelino Parajon as saying: “If Real Madrid have signed Gareth Bale knowing about this protrusion, they have committed an error.”
Ezequiel Garay's Manchester United Deal Revelation
Manchester United had a frustrating time in the summer transfer market, but a report from John Cross in the Mirror claims some of the issues were of their own doing.
Cross has picked up some quotes from Benfica defender Ezequiel Garay, who claims he was all set to join the Red Devils until David Moyes pulled the plug on the deal.
Garay had been linked with United earlier in the year, and he claims a deal was pretty much done by Sir Alex Ferguson, but the Scot's replacement baulked at the asking price.
I believed I was going to join Manchester United in the summer. The deal was nearly closed but finally Benfica did not accept the offer.
I believe the exit of Ferguson has influenced the deal. Moyes did not believe in me as much but that's not a problem.
Andros Townsend Was Close to Cut-Price Tottenham Exit
Andros Townsend sent his stock shooting up with a superb display for England on Friday, and is close to a new contract with Tottenham, but the Mail claims his career almost took a rather different route.
In a piece penned by Neil Ashton and Sami Mokbel, it is claimed Townsend and Tottenham "have shaken hands on an improved deal worth £15,000 a week."
However, Ashton and Mokbel go on to state in their "exclusive" article that Townsend was almost bombed out of Tottenham for £500,000.
Sportsmail can reveal that Tottenham were close to selling the winger to Millwall in 2011 after a successful loan spell.
They considered selling the ‘fringe player’ for £500,000 and Townsend was told he could decide whether to go or stay and fight for his place.
After a talking with his father Troy and his advisers, he decided to stay.
The rest, as the saying goes, is history as Townsend has not looked back.
He impressed in preseason, and his dazzling, direct style has made him a mainstay of Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas' plans, along with those of England boss Roy Hodgson.
Arsenal Set to Miss out on Victor Valdes
If Arsenal have designs on Barcelona keeper Victor Valdes, they may have to look elsewhere, as the Mail's David Kent says the keeper is set on joining Monaco.
Valdes set Europe's elite clubs on alert earlier in the year when he indicated that he would see out his contract at Barca before heading for a new challenge.
There's no indication of a change of heart, while Barca have already lined up a replacement in the guise of Marc-Andre ter Stegen of Borussia Monchengladbach according to Spanish radio station Cadena Ser (via the Daily Mail).
Arsenal were linked with Valdes in the summer, with reports suggesting Gunners boss Arsene Wenger would keep tabs on the situation.
But Kent's piece quotes Valdes as saying he would like to join his former Barca teammate Eric Abidal at Monaco.
Valdes said: "Playing alongside him again would be special."
Paul Pogba's Transfer Talk Is a Fairytale
Those under the age of 10 and all fans of Elf, please look away now.
Juventus veteran Giorgio Chiellini has moved to blow out of the water the fact that Santa Claus exists, by suggesting only people who believe in fairytales will think Paul Pogba will remain with the Turin club.
Pogba is one of the hottest properties in world football at this moment, and only last week he was linked with Arsenal and Chelsea.
Juve president Andrea Agnelli told an Italian football conference that he felt the club would have to sell if a big offer was tabled.
There is a school of thought that the posturing is part of the contract negotiation process between Pogba and Juve. This has in part been confirmed by Chiellini, who feels Pogba will sign a new deal, but he does not believe he will hang around with the Old Lady of Italian football for too long.
In an interview with Gazetta dello Sport, picked up by Craig Hope of the Mail, Chiellini said:
If someone wants to believe in fairytales and Father Christmas that’s his prerogative.
At the moment, Pogba is the biggest talent in international football in his position. If Juve do receive an obscenely high offer for him... just look at the price Bale went for.
Paul is settled here and he’ll probably renew his contract, but you never know with the transfer market. Anything can happen.
When a club is offered an obscene amount of money for a player it’s difficult to say no.
Newcastle Hunting Wilfried Zaha Loan Deal
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is "confident" of securing a loan move for Manchester United winger Wilfried Zaha, according to Carl Eldridge of the Star.
Pardew endured a frustrating time in the summer transfer window, as his only signing was the loan capture of Loic Remy from Queens Park Rangers.
The manager wants new faces in January and, according to Eldridge, Zaha is one of his prime targets.
Eldridge has a quote from a source who said: "The prospect of playing at Newcastle is the preferred one at present, but it depends on United allowing a loan move to happen."
Zaha has made little impact at United since sealing his move from Crystal Palace and is still to make his Premier League debut for the club.
Manchester United Eyeing League Two Talent
Manchester United had their sights on big names such as Cesc Fabregas, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale in the summer.
It now seems, per a report from the Star's Michael Morgan, that United manager David Moyes is shopping a little further down the food chain.
Moyes was seen at Fleetwood Town's League Two clash with Chesterfield, and Morgan claims the Scot was looking at Spireites midfielder Tendayi Darikwa.
Morgan claims Darikwa was on Moyes' radar while he was in charge at Everton, and the former Toffees manager is now ready to revive his interest.
Bits and Pieces: Kolarov in Demand, Obertan Frustrated, Liverpool's Bat Problem
Galatsaray boss Roberto Mancini is readying a raid on his former club Manchester City for defender Aleksandar Kolarov, writes the Star's Paul Hetherington.
Gabriel Obertan is frustrated with life on the bench at Newcastle and has hinted he will seek a move in January if things don't change, per a report in the Star.
Manchester City midfielder Abdisalam Ibrahim is currently on loan with Norwegian side Stromsgodset, but he could be a January target for Crystal Palace, writes Darren Witcoop of the Mirror.
There are bats in the Anfield belfry, writes Matthew Nash of the Metro, and he claims the presence of the protected species could hamper Liverpool’s redevelopment plans.