Paper Gossip: Real Madrid Back in for Luis Suarez, Chelsea Tempt Xabi Alonso
Wednesday's back pages understandably devoted a lot of space to last night's Capital One Cup match between Arsenal and Chelsea, but there is still space for some interesting rumours.
Liverpool are at the heart of matters, with Real Madrid apparently back in for the Reds' star man Luis Suarez.
It seems Xabi Alonso is one player who will not be going the other way, though Chelsea is confident they can lure the central midfielder to Stamford Bridge instead.
Elsewhere there is big news involving David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo, so click on to get your fill of the latest rumours and speculation.
Real Madrid to Offer £20m and Karim Benzema for Liverpool's Luis Suarez
Liverpool will face another fight to keep Luis Suarez in January, reports the Daily Star, with Real Madrid ready to offer £20 million and Karim Benzema for the Ballon d'Or nominee.
The Star reports that Real are keener than ever to sign Suarez—who would be eligible for the knockout stages of the Champions League—but cannot afford the £40-plus million it would require to prise him away from Anfield, so they are hoping Benzema will be a suitable sweetener.
Persuading the France international to head for Merseyside might be a difficult sell, however.
The Star's Adrian Kajumba writes:
Madrid value Benzema at £20m, making the overall package worth around £40m.
The French striker has been told he can leave Madrid after falling down the pecking order at the Bernabeu.
Madrid have offered him to a number of clubs, though, and convincing Benzema to join Liverpool could be a potential stumblingblock.
Real are already making contingency plans in case Benzema says ‘no’ and they are forced to come up with a cash-only bid.
Sources close to the deal claim splashing out on another big fee will be impossible for the Spaniards unless they sell first.
Fabio Coentrao, Sami Khedira and even Angel di Maria are among the players the club would consider selling in order to finance a bid for Suarez, according to the report.
Chelsea Hope to Tempt Xabi Alonso with Bumper Contract Offer
Jose Mourinho wants to be reunited with central midfielder Xabi Alonso, according to the Daily Mirror, and will offer the Real Madrid man a three-year deal to tempt him to join Chelsea.
Alonso, who spent a successful spell at Liverpool before moving to the Santiago Bernabeu, is out of contract at the end of the current campaign—meaning clubs can approach him on a pre-contract basis in January.
And Darren Lewis is confident that is exactly what Mourinho will do. He writes:
Jose Mourinho wants Xabi Alonso to follow him from Real Madrid to Chelsea.
The former Liverpool midfielder, 32 next month, is on a deal that's set to expire next summer and can sign a pre-contract with the Londoners in January.
It is believed he will be offered a three-year contract to reunite with Mourinho to Stamford Bridge.
Lewis claims that Liverpool are also in for their former star, but that Alonso has no desire to retread old ground.
Cristiano Ronaldo Fumes at Sepp Blatter Quips
Cristiano Ronaldo has responded furiously to a recent video showing FIFA president Sepp Blatter poking fun at him.
During a speech at the Oxford Union, Blatter explained his preference for Lionel Messi over Cristiano Ronaldo—while making jokes about Ronaldo's demeanour and penchant for hair products.
Ronaldo responded angrily, posting on his Facebook page (via the Metro):
This video shows clearly the respect and consideration that Fifa has for me, for my club and my country. Much is explained now.
I wish Mr Blatter health and a long life, with the certainty that he will continue to witness, as he deserves, the successes of his favourite teams and players.
After Real Madrid president Florentino Perez wrote to FIFA to complain about the "unfortunate and unacceptable" comments, Blatter duly offered an apology (via Eurosport). "It was never my intention to embarrass or disrespect to Real Madrid or one of their players or their fans," the Swede said.
Sir Alex Ferguson "Nearly Emigrated to Canada" as Young Player
Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that he nearly emigrated to Canada as a young man during a period where he feared his footballing aspirations would never be realised.
At a talk in his hometown of Govan, the Scot recalled a time where he considered crossing the Atlantic for a new life.
The Daily Mail reports:
"I once got the papers to emigrate to Canada," Ferguson told compere Dougie Donnelly.
"I went to Canada House on the corner of Waterloo Street and Hope Street in Glasgow and put them in a drawer in the house while I made my mind up."
St Johnstone’s reserves had lost 9-1, 10-2 and 8-0 and, with his spirits low, Ferguson had a female friend call manager Bobby Brown on a Friday afternoon feigning illness ahead of a game when the injuries were kicking in.
It was an early experience of the ‘hairdryer’ routine he himself would perfect.
"He told me I was a disgrace and to report the next day because there were players who were genuinely injured.
"And I scored a hat-trick – my first ever. It changed my life and from that day I always tell people, 'Don’t miss your opportunities.'
"Nine months later I found the Canada papers in the drawer. I never did sign them."
It's "Welcome to Miami" for David Beckham as He Picks MLS Franchise
David Beckham will set up his new MLS franchise in Miami, it seems, with a story first reported by the Associated Press being backed up in a number of newspapers.
Beckham has had a long-standing option to start a franchise for £15 million and has decided Miami is the place to do it, although he will have to beat out other investors also keen to bring a football team to South Beach.
With the "buy-in" also well below the market price for such a franchise, there is speculation that Beckham could set up the team and then sell it on almost immediately for a healthy profit.
Sky Sports, for who Beckham is a brand ambassador, reports:
David Beckham has selected Miami as the city where he intends to set up a Major League Soccer franchise, according to Sky sources.
While a deal to complete Beckham's move into ownership is yet to be agreed, it is understood the former England captain has named Miami as his final choice.
He has an option to buy a franchise for £15m, although he will face competition from around the world if he is to realise his ambition of owning an MLS club.
It is understood that should Beckham win the race to set up a team in Miami, he could then look to sell it to potential investors for almost treble the discounted £15m asking price.
AP, via the Daily Mail, reports that Beckham hopes to have the team playing by 2016 and may immediately bring in other investors as part of the project.
Montreal, San Diego and Orlando were also considered by the former Manchester United and Real Madrid player.
Barcelona Scouting Pepe Reina in Hunt for Victor Valdes' Successor
Barcelona are evaluating Pepe Reina as a possible successor to Victor Valdes, according to the Daily Mail.
Valdes is widely expected to leave the Spanish club for a new challenge at the end of the season, with the club taking their time to find the goalkeeper's replacement.
Reports on Tuesday indicated the club had reached a provisional agreement with Borussia Moenchengladbach for Marc-Andre ter Stergen, but the Mail insists Reina—currently on a season-long loan at Napoli from Liverpool—is also on their radar.
Reina would appear to have no long-term future at Anfield, considering the rise of £9 million summer signing Simon Mignolet.
Mail reporter Simon Jones writes:
Barcelona are maintaining interest in Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina.
The Spaniard, 31, is on a season loan at Napoli but Rafa Benitez does not have a unique option to buy as Liverpool want to ensure they can negotiate a better deal if necessary.
Barca have held talks over an £8million deal for Borussia Monchengladbach's Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, 21, but are keeping options open in the search for Victor Valdes's replacement.
Technical secretary Albert Valentin went to watch Reina play in the 2-1 win over Marseille in the Champions League last week before going on to watch Ter Stegen face Eintracht Frankfurt.
Reina has denied previous speculation linking him with the club where he started his career.
Bits and Pieces: Toronto Chase Defoe, Pato to North London?
Jermain Defoe has been strongly linked with an end-of-season move to Toronto FC in MLS after the Canadian club's manager, Ryan Nelsen, expressed his desire to sign the Tottenham striker. Spurs might look to replace Defoe with Burnley's Danny Ings, according to the Daily Mail.
West Brom starlet Saido Berahino is finally set to sign a new contract worth around £12,000 a week, according to the Daily Telegraph. The England Under-21 international currently earns £850 each week.
Arsenal and Tottenham are both keeping tabs on Corinthians striker Alexandre Pato heading into the January transfer window, according to the Daily Star.
According to the Mirror, Southampton are eyeing up a move for Inter Milan's McDonald Mariga, the brother of current Saints midfielder Victor Wanyama.
And finally, Michael Owen will not be on the next series of I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!: