We’ve gone a few days without any mention of Sir Alex Ferguson, but he’s back in the spotlight.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has pulled no punches in the assessment of his side’s loss to Newcastle, while there’s a Blues player being tipped for an England return.
There’s also transfer talk involving Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester United, Manchester City and more.
All this and more feature in Sunday’s edition of the Paper News and Gossip Roundup.
Sven Goran Eriksson has penned a column in the Mail on Sunday, and the focus of his piece is a certain Sir Alex Ferguson.
So yes, you’ve worked it out; Ferguson and that book are back in the news.
Eriksson goes into detail on a couple of subjects. One being the Scot’s famed temper, and the second being how he nearly succeeded Ferguson as Manchester United manager.
Eriksson, during his time as England's boss, reveals how he regularly fielded calls from Ferguson with regard to the selection of United players for Three Lions games.
In his piece, Eriksson wrote:
He caused a fuss before practically every friendly we played with England. Friendlies were completely useless, he thought. Players only got hurt.
Sometimes Ferguson would call at seven o’clock in the morning, ordering me not to select one of his players for a friendly. The player was injured or else he needed to rest, Ferguson claimed.
I was not going to let Ferguson bully me. If I wanted a Manchester United player in my squad, I was going to select him.
Eriksson was England manager from 2001 to 2006, but he came close to leaving that role and taking charge of United.
Taking up the story, Eriksson wrote:
Ferguson had announced that the 2001/02 season would be his last.
One day I got a phone call from Pini Zahavi, a leading football agent. He wanted to know if I could come for breakfast at a club in London the following morning. He did not want to say on the phone what it was about. It was very secretive. ‘Sure,’ I said, ‘no problem.’
When I arrived, Pini was there with Peter Kenyon, the chief executive of Manchester United. Straight off the bat, Kenyon asked me did I want the job as manager of Manchester United as of next season? I didn’t think about it.
A contract was signed—I was United’s new manager. A couple of weeks passed and Pini called again. He wanted another meeting. When I got there, I knew something was wrong. Kenyon explained that Ferguson had changed his mind.
But to this day, Pini has the signed contract where it says I was Manchester United’s new manager.
Jose Mourinho saw his Chelsea side slip to defeat at Newcastle, and the Portuguese manager has ripped into the team he selected, writes the Mail on Sunday’s Bob Cass.
In his post-match interview with BT Sport, Mourinho admitted that Newcastle were the better team on the day and deserved the three points.
But, in later interviews with the morning papers, he was far more critical of his team selection.
Cass has the quotes:
I made 11 wrong team choices; I made 11 mistakes.
I’ve been in this game many years and I was smelling what was going to happen. I did not like my team today.
When one team is not there they normally lose and that’s what happened to us today. We lacked everything really.
Chelsea are readying a bid for Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski in January, writes the Mail on Sunday’s Rob Shepherd.
Lewandowski had been widely expected to join Bayern Munich on a free transfer next summer, but he revealed last month that no contract had been signed and that he was open to a move to the Premier League.
The news has seen the rumour mill crank into life, and Shepherd claims Blues boss Mourinho is ready to put the claims to the test with a January bid.
In his piece, Shepherd writes:
Chelsea will test how truthful Robert Lewandowski is being about not having made an agreement to join Bayern Munich at the end of the season as early at the January transfer window.
It has long been assumed that the Borussia Dortmund centre forward is definitely Bayern-bound when his contract expires at the end of the season.
But it has emerged that no deal has been ‘signed and sealed’. It is also understood that Bayern boss Pep Guardiola is not entirely sold on the idea of integrating the robust Poland striker into his team.
Despite his claims to the contrary Jose Mourinho recognises that Chelsea are lacking up front.
John Terry has not been an England international since quitting the international scene a year ago.
That appeared to end a tumultuous England career for the Chelsea captain, but he is being tipped to make himself available once again by former Blues midfielder Ray Wilkins.
Wilkins claims Terry is still the best defender in the country and feels he should reconsider his decision to play for the Three Lions in what is a World Cup year.
The Star’s Tony Stenson has the quotes:
John is still the best centre-half we have in the country.
John has always been criticised for not having blistering pace but he reads the game so well.
If you look beyond Phil Jagielka and Gary Cahill we’re trying Chris Smalling and Phil Jones.
You need to be a specialist centre-half to play at that level.
Arsenal are dripping with midfield talent, but they could add another to their ranks in the shape of Ilkay Gundogan, writes the Star’s Tony Stenson.
The Gunners are five points clear at the top of the Premier League, with their midfield stars Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla playing key parts.
Arsene Wenger also has the likes of Mathieu Flamini, Jack Wilshere and Mikel Arteta at his disposal. But Stenson suggests the Frenchman may add another option in the shape of Borussia Dortmund’s Gundogan.
In the same piece, Stenson writes that Wenger is also interested in FC Basel central defender Fabian Schar.
Comedy story of the day award goes to the People’s Alan Oliver, who claims Newcastle director of football Joe Kinnear attempted to sign a player who was already theirs.
Kinnear has come in for widespread criticism since returning to the club, and he could well be in for some extra heat on the back of Oliver’s piece.
Oliver reveals that Kinnear took in a Capital One Cup clash between Birmingham and Swansea in September and came away deeply impressed with Shane Ferguson.
Kinnear, per Oliver’s piece, enquired about the availability of Ferguson and was told by Birmingham officials that he was already a Newcastle player but on loan with the Midlands club.
Shinji Kagawa wants to leave Manchester United in January, writes the People’s Dean Jones.
Kagawa has not had the expected impact since making the move to United from Borussia Dortmund, and even the arrival of new manager David Moyes has failed to change his fortunes.
Jones claims Kagawa has told his Old Trafford team-mates he wants out of the club in order to ensure he remains sharp ahead of next year’s World Cup finals in Brazil.
Jones claims Kagawa’s former club Borussia Dortmund, along with Wolfsburg, will be in the mix if the midfielder is made available.
Tottenham have been given hope with regard to the chase of Alexandre Pato, writes Jamie Sanderson of Metro.
Sanderson quotes Corinthians club director Roberto de Andrade as saying they are open to a sale in January.
Bayern Munich could launch a bid for Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero next summer, writes the People’s Alan Nixon.
There could be players coming in at City, though, with the People’s Tom Hopkinson writing that the club have stepped up their interest in Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira.
Manchester United and Manchester City are casting eyes at Porto defenders Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolas Otamendi, writes the Star’s Paul Hetherington.
Aston Villa are plotting a raid on Malmo for Sweden international Pontus Jansson, writes the Star.