Saturday's newspapers bring with them a veritable glut of rumours, many involving the two Manchester clubs.
It appears David Moyes is still pining after a certain former Manchester United player, but he could be drawn into a more immediate transfer battle with cross-city rivals Manchester City for Benfica defender Ezequiel Garay.
Elsewhere, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger might be about to disappoint every Gunners fan hoping for a new striker in January, judging by his recent comments.
Click on for the details on all those stories—and a couple more...
Manchester United manager David Moyes has once again reiterated his hope of bringing Cristiano Ronaldo back to the club in the near future.
Real Madrid forward Ronaldo signed a new five-year contract with Real Madrid in the summer, seemingly ending whatever slim hopes United had of re-signing the player they sold to the Liga giants for £80 million in 2008.
Nevertheless, it seems Moyes has not given up signing Ronaldo entirely.
"Everyone at Manchester United would tell you he is the best in the business anyway," Moyes told MUTV, according to the Daily Mail.
"I have not been fortunate enough to work with him but there is still hope some day it might be possible."
Benfica defender Ezequiel Garay is a man in demand. According to the Saturday newspapers, both Manchester City and Manchester United are keen on signing the Argentina international in January.
The Daily Mirror claims that Manchester City are keen to land Garay due to the ongoing injury concerns surrounding Vincent Kompany, while the Daily Star believes United have long been tracking the centre-back as an immediate successor for the likes of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.
However, Napoli's interest in the player—who has a £17m release clause in his contract—might force both clubs to act quickly.
Jeremy Cross writes for the Star:
Garay is regarded as a long-term replacement for Rio Ferdinand at the heart of United's defence.
Moyes was considering a move for the former Real Madrid star next summer and is not put off by the £17m release clause in his contract.
But now it has emerged Benitez has joined the race to sign Garay.
The Napoli boss is set to go on a spending spree and is plotting a move for the 27-year-old.
Former Liverpool boss Benitez, who knows Moyes well from their time together as rival managers on Merseyside, has made strengthening his defence his priority.
Moyes was planning to wait until the end of the season to make his move, but news of Benitez's interest could see him act now.
For the Mirror, David McDonnell adds:
Manchester City are primed to buy a central defender if skipper Vincent Kompany’s injury nightmare continues.
Kompany has been out of action since October 5 with a groin injury and will not resume training until next week at the earliest.
It is the second prolonged injury spell the defender has suffered this season and boss Manuel Pellegrini is poised to enter the market in January.
Porto’s Eliaquim Mangala and Benfica’s Ezequiel Garay are two names on City’s radar should Kompany’s injury jinx continue to keep him sidelined.
Jose Mourinho has made it pretty clear to Barcelona—or any other potential suitors—that Chelsea are not ready or willing to sell on-loan goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois any time soon.
Courtois is currently on loan at Atletico Madrid, but with Petr Cech still comfortably ensconced as the No. 1 at Stamford Bridge, there has been speculation about what the future of both goalkeepers may hold.
According to the Daily Mail, Mourinho said:
In this moment we are in a good situation.
I repeat that because we have the best goalkeeper in the world at a stable age.[Edwin] Van der Sar went from Fulham to [Manchester] United older than Petr and stayed there for a long time, so he is in the best age of his career. And Courtois is undoubtedly the best young goalkeeper in the world with two more years of contract. We are in control of the situation.
Anything that can happen in the future depends on Chelsea. It’s a difficult situation for a club that wants to buy him.
It’s a difficult situation for a club that wants him on loan. It’s an easy situation for us. What we’d like? He knows, his family knows, his agent knows. They know what we’d like.
Barcelona, your move.
Newcastle could send out-of-sorts striker Papiss Cisse to QPR in order to secure the signing of Loic Remy from the Championship side on a permanent basis, according to reports.
The Magpies currently have Remy on loan from the West London club but still have work to do if they are to make the France international's stay at St James' Park a permanent one.
But the Daily Mail cites a report from Sports Direct News—a "news outlet" of dubious merit but one presumably owned by the same man, Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley, that owns Newcastle—claiming that the club is prepared to use Cisse as a makeweight in any deal.
Simon Cass writes:
Newcastle United striker Papiss Cisse could be on his way to Queens Park Rangers as part of a swap deal which would see Loic Remy’s season-long loan move from Loftus Road to St James’ Park become a permanent switch.
That is the astonishing ‘exclusive’ which is being run on a website backed by Sports Direct, whose majority shareholder is Newcastle owner Mike Ashley.
The story claims that Newcastle manager Alan Pardew is weighing up the deal as QPR want to increase the asking price for Remy given his blistering start to the season which has seen him score seven goals in nine Barclay’s Premier League games.
Cisse has yet to score in 10 goals for the club this season, although whether this means Pardew is ready to let the Senegal striker leave remains to be seen.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has said that he does not need to sign a striker in January for his club to win the Premier League title.
Despite the common perception that, with Olivier Giroud the only natural centre-forward in the squad (Lukas Podolski's injury also factored in), the club desperately needs someone to lift the weight on the France international if they are to maintain their heady start to the current campaign.
However, The Times (subscription required) reports Wenger is less convinced:
I am not against buying.
I don’t say I never make a mistake—I certainly made some. Sometimes it is because we didn’t sign the right player.
It is always difficult in the middle of the season. If somebody is doing well somewhere, the clubs do not necessarily want to sell him. They can wait until the end of the season. Most of the time it is because we didn’t find anyone.
Wenger added that signing Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema in January would "not be a good idea," before adding that Theo Walcott could offer a different dimension to Giroud in attack when he returns.
Fabricio Coloccini has reaffirmed his desire to leave Newcastle United as soon as possible, according to the Daily Star.
Crystal Palace are set finally to appoint Tony Pulis as the club's new manager at some point over the weekend, as reported by The Times (subscription required). The Daily Mirror reports he will get a £1m bonus if he keeps the Eagles in the Premier League.
The Star reports that Rio Ferdinand has criticised the current England side, saying they lack an "identity."
The Daily Mirror suggests Andre Villas-Boas could be prepared to give Emmanuel Adebayor a shock recall to his squad for the game against Manchester City on Sunday.
Mark Hughes has claimed that the government's decision to deny Juan Agudelo a work permit to complete a move to Stoke City has cost the club in the region of £10 million. That is reported by the Star.