Paper Gossip: Wilshere Blow, Rooney Scoffs at Arsenal, Begovic's City Claims
Wednesday's newspapers are dominated by yet another dive from Ashley Young, while there is some disappointing injury news for Arsenal and England fans.
Elsewhere, Asmir Begovic confirms he was very nearly the man to solve Manchester City's current goalkeeping headache, while Wayne Rooney puts the pressure on Arsenal.
For all that and more, click on for Wednesday's edition of Paper Gossip...
Jack Wilshere Set to Miss Manchester United Game and England Friendlies
Jack Wilshere is unlikely to face Manchester United this weekend, according to Wednesday's newspapers, while England staff are fearful he will also be forced to miss two forthcoming international friendlies.
A recurrence of an ongoing ankle problem has forced Wilshere to miss Wednesday's Champions League meeting with Borussia Dortmund, while he will have a test on Thursday to ascertain how much action he will have to miss.
Writing in the Daily Mail, Neil Ashton quotes Gunners boss Arsene Wenger saying:
I will know more on Thursday when he will have another test. If that is not successful he will definitely be out for Sunday against Manchester United.
If he is out for Sunday, then he will definitely be out for England as well.
England boss Roy Hodgson will pick his squad for the matches against Chile and Germany that day, complicating Wilshere's chances of being involved.
Roy Hodgson names his squad on Thursday for the Three Lions' matches next Friday and the following Tuesday, so is unlikely to pick either Wilshere or his club colleague Theo Walcott—although the latter is hoping to make the bench at Old Trafford.
Wayne Rooney Claims Arsenal Start Is 'No Big Worry'
Ahead of Sunday's Premier League meeting with leaders Arsenal, Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney has claimed the London club's start to the season is "no big worry" for United.
United will fall 11 points behind the Gunners if they lose the match at Old Trafford, a worrying deficit so early in the season, but it appears Rooney does not consider that outcome likely.
Speaking after United's 0-0 draw with Real Sociedad on Tuesday, Rooney admitted that Arsenal are in "good form at the minute" but noted that we all should "wait and see where they are in March."
According to AFP, relayed by the South China Morning Post, Rooney said:
We’ve beaten Arsenal many times in the past. They are in good form at the minute, they’re top of the league, so we know it is going to be a difficult game.
But we have to go into the game confident that this is the game that will bring us back into the mix.
We’ll have to wait and see where they are in March. We’ve seen before that they’ve been in the top two until February, March time and then dropped off so it’s down to them to try and stay there.
They are doing brilliantly and are in a great position so it is down to us to match them.
We know we are playing better and are stating to do well. There are only 10 games gone so there is no big worry at the minute.
It will be interesting to see what Arsenal make of the comments—especially considering they have been strongly linked with a move for the England international over the past few months.
Tottenham to Return for Fabio Coentrao in January
Tottenham will return for Real Madrid left-back Fabio Coentrao in January, according to the Daily Mail.
Spurs failed in a bid for the Portuguese full-back in the summer, with chairman Daniel Levy unable to make the player part of a part-exchange deal for Gareth Bale. But manager Andre Villas-Boas has made finding a left-back a January priority, with Coentrao his top option.
Coentrao has struggled to establish himself under Real manager Carlo Ancelotti and could well be available on loan as he looks for first-team football ahead of next summer's World Cup.
John Drayton writes:
Coentrao came close to making a deadline day move to Manchester United over the summer but Real pulled the plug at the last minute.
Spurs are currently playing Jan Vertonghen - normally first choice centre-half alongside Michael Dawson - at left-back because of an injury to Danny Rose.
Villas-Boas is interested in offering his compatriot regular football, something which should appeal to the 25-year-old with the possibility of a trip to the World Cup next year.
Asmir Begovic Confirms He Nearly Joined Manchester City
Goalscoring goalkeeper Asmir Begovic has seemingly confirmed that he nearly joined Manchester City in the summer.
The Bosnia international, who became just the fifth goalkeeper to score a Premier League goal at the weekend, revealed to media in his home country that he was close to joining City while Roberto Mancini was still manager.
Mancini's assistant, David Platt, had previously hinted that a deal was in place before denying such claims, but Begovic seems to believe he would have joined the club had Mancini not been replaced by Manuel Pellegrini.
He was quoted in Bosnian paper Dnevni Avaz, translated by the Daily Star, as saying:
As players we are the last to find out things. Probably our agents and club officials find out first without talking to us, then at the latter stage of negotiations they will tell us.
As for Manchester City, when Mancini was on the bench, we were very close to an agreement.
The transfer was not realised due to several reasons, but the main one was the departure of the Italian manager.
Pellegrini, of course, now finds himself with something of a goalkeeper crisis—recently dropping established No. 1 Joe Hart after a series of costly errors. It seems unlikely that Begovic will move to the club in January, however, although he did not rule out a switch next summer.
"Could I still move to City? I really don't know if negotiations between clubs are still ongoing," he added.
"But for me probably the best thing would be to stay at Stoke until the end of the season as in that way I would be truly ready for the World Cup in Brazil."
Ashley Young Dives into New Manchester United Row
All the newspapers report on Ashley Young's latest dive, this time in the Champions League against Real Sociedad, as they speculate on what it could mean for his Manchester United future.
Having previously been warned about his simulation by manager David Moyes following a similar incident against Crystal Palace earlier in the season, Young won a penalty for his side in Spain with a clear dive in the second half.
Robin van Persie missed the resultant spot-kick, as the game finished 0-0 and left United with work still to do if they are to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League.
Ashley Young. pic.twitter.com/5BoxI8vTFj— Nooruddean (@BeardedGenius) November 5, 2013
The dive was branded as "pathetic" by one television pundit and widely slammed on Twitter, although on this occasion Moyes refused to condemn his man.
The Times (subscription required) quoted him as saying:
I have seen it [a replay of the Young incident]. The boy [Bergara] tugs him in the box. The referee is two yards away from it and decides to give it.
He’s [Young] got a penalty kick for a decision. I don’t know about his reputation, but the referee is there and he gave it. The referee made decisions all night. He’s the one who saw fit to award a penalty and send a player off. I thought the referee made decisions and that was the referee’s choice.
Ian Ladyman of the Daily Mail responded to that stance by writing, "That is the United manager’s prerogative but what is certain is that it will not spare his player from increasingly intense scrutiny over the coming weeks."
Bits and Pieces: Fraser Forster Scouted, Vincent Kompany Skips Belgium Duty
Blackburn insist £10 million-rated striker Jordan Rhodes will not be for sale in January, according to the Daily Mirror. There had been claims the club would need to sell the hitman in order to help balance the books.
Following Tuesday's reports of Roma's interest in Yohan Cabaye, the Daily Express claims Liverpool and Arsenal have strengthened their interest in the Newcastle midfielder.
Roy Hodgson has sent a scout to watch Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster against Ajax in the Champions League on Wednesday, according to the Daily Star, as he continues to assess his options beyond under-pressure No. 1 Joe Hart.
FA technical director Dan Ashworth has revealed that player agents have previously applied pressure on national team coaches over squad selections, reports The Times (subscription required).
The Daily Mail reports that Vincent Kompany will play no part in Belgium's two upcoming international friendlies, as he bids to be fit to return for Manchester City after the break.
The Daily Express also reports Spurs are tracking Brazilian winger Neilton, as the Santos player struggles to agree to terms on a new deal with his current club.