It’s not even Christmas, but awards have already been dished out. Luis Suarez has his hands on a prize, but he is aiming higher.
The Champions League draw has enabled Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini to put the boot into Barcelona.
There’s plenty of fallout from Andre Villas-Boas’ Tottenham sacking, while there’s transfer talk aplenty.
All this and more feature in Tuesday’s edition of the Paper News and Gossip Roundup.
Andre Villas-Boas’ departure from Tottenham on Monday has sparked widespread speculation as to who will take charge at White Hart Lane.
A host of individuals have been linked, while Tottenham reported shortly after Villas-Boas’ departure that Tim Sherwood would be placed in temporary charge.
It could be more than a temporary appointment, if a report by the Star’s David Woods is to be believed.
In a report that is tagged “exclusive,” Woods states that Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has informed Sherwood that he wants him in permanent charge.
Woods infers that positive results in the games with West Ham and Southampton this week will secure Sherwood a full-time appointment.
The Star writer adds that Levy has a back-up plan. That back-up plan is former England manager Fabio Capello.
Capello is in charge of the Russian national side, but his contract expires at the end of the World Cup finals next summer.
So why did Villas-Boas lose his job, aside from being slugged 5-0 at home by Liverpool?
The Independent's Sam Wallace claims to know the answer. And Emmanuel Adebayor had a role to play.
In his piece, Wallace wrote:
Andre Villas-Boas’ time in charge of Tottenham Hotspur came to an end on Monday morning when he told chairman Daniel Levy and technical director Franco Baldini that he would not select Emmanuel Adebayor, despite his side’s chronic lack of goals.
In the course of their conversation it was intimated to Villas-Boas that he might wish to try a different, more attacking approach to solve the failure to score more than 15 goals in 16 league games.
Although Adebayor’s name was not mentioned by either Levy or Baldini, the Portuguese head coach took it to be a suggestion that he should recall the Togolese striker. He said that there would be no possibility of him recalling the striker.
That was the tipping point for Levy to take the decision to sack the 36-year-old head coach.
Adebayor has seen a mere 45 minutes of action for Spurs this season, after being absent from pre-season to deal with a family matter.
Upon his return to the club, Adebayor was made to train with the reserves for a time.
He was brought back into the fold, but has seen little playing time in the Premier League despite Roberto Soldado and Jermain Defoe struggling for goals.
Liverpool have repeatedly played down their chances of winning the title, but Luis Suarez feels a positive festive period could spark a push towards glory.
At the start of the season, Liverpool were perceived to be well behind the level of Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United.
However, they have kept pace with the leaders and are a mere two points adrift of the Gunners at the top of the table.
The Reds thrashed Tottenham at the weekend, and Suarez feels such form is of the level required of title winners.
But he is aware that they face massive games against City and Chelsea in the coming weeks.
The Star’s Kevin Francis has the quotes.
If we continue this level the next two or three weeks we can win the league or we can finish in the top four.
It’s important we concentrate and focus on the next game.
We know that after Cardiff we have two very, very big games.
That will be important to what comes next.
Suarez was picking up silverware on Monday evening, as reported by the Mail's Paul Collins, as he was named Player of the Year at the Football Supporters' Federation Awards.
Suarez was involved in a light-hearted moment prior to Liverpool’s win at Tottenham on Sunday. Mascot Olivia Brown snubbed the forward's handshake and instead put her hand to her nose and twiddled her fingers. It has now emerged that the youngster’s father put her up to the dare.
The Mail’s Rik Sharma picked up on an interview Mr Brown gave to the Bedfordshire on Sunday:
I said I'd give her £20 to give him the thumb to the nose and the twiddly fingers. Afterwards she came back to our seats and said 'dad I've done it' and I told her I didn't see it and she said he just laughed and then she asked for her £20.
It was all good-natured because she laughed and he did too. It's made my day—it's just hilarious.
Arsene Wenger missed out on Suarez in the summer, but the Arsenal boss still has his eye on the Liverpool striker.
Arsenal held a commanding position in the Premier League a matter of weeks ago, but they have faltered in recent games.
The Gunners do appear to need reinforcements, and Wenger would in all probability like to get his hands on Suarez.
The Star's Colin Harvey carries the quotes from Wenger:
I think that every defender in England hates playing against him. He has a strong, provocative personality.
From the information I gathered on him it appears that on a day-to-day level he is really easy to work with.
Also that he's respectful, he loves training, he's an angel. He turns into a demon when he's on the pitch.
We all dream about having players like that.
Manchester United snapped their Premier League barren run at the weekend, and the win over Aston Villa has been followed with manager David Moyes insisting the club will spend big in January.
Red Devils fans endured a frustrating summer, as they saw a host of big-name links fail to materialise—with the one major outlay being on Marouane Fellaini.
The frustration was compounded as United made a poor start to the Premier League season, and they currently sit 10 points behind leaders Arsenal.
But United are traditionally strong in the second half of the season, and Moyes has revved up the fans with talk of big-name arrivals.
Per a report from the Star’s Colin Harvey, Moyes said: “We have got the money and the club will spend.
"There is no question about that."
Joe Hart will have a fresh goalkeeper to battle with, as Manchester City have beaten off competition from Manchester United and Arsenal to land Kjetil Haug.
The competition is unlikely to happen immediately, as Haug is 15. However, according to the Star's Colin Harvey, the competition could be fierce as the teenager has been dubbed "the new Peter Schmeichel."
Harvey stated in his piece that United and Arsenal were keen, but that City have won the race.
Per Harvey's piece, the player's father said: “I can confirm that he will go to Manchester City this summer."
The Champions League draw threw up a host of interesting ties, none more so than Manchester City’s meeting with Barcelona.
The mind games have begun, with City boss Manuel Pellegrini claiming Barca are not what they were.
The Mail’s Ian Ladyman has the quotes:
Barcelona is not the team it was two years ago. They changed three managers in the last three years, maybe the performance of the players is not the same, the players are older. They continue to be a very good team. But two years ago they were more unbeatable than today.
Arsenal take on Bayern Munich and the German titans have admitted they did not want to pull out the Gunners.
Per a report from the Mirror’s Neil McLeman, Bayern president Uli Hoeness said: “It’s what I feared. That’s the strongest team we could have got. We dare not underestimate these opponents.”
There's fresh trouble brewing at Cardiff, according to the Mirror's Joe Mewis, as owner Vincent Tan has launched a stinging attack on manager Malky Mackay.
Tensions have been high at Cardiff for some time, but they have been raised by Tan's statement with regard to the January transfer window.
Tan feels Mackay has spoken out of turn by saying he wants to bring in new faces in January. And in his statement, Tan has made it clear there will be no new arrivals.
Mewis' piece carries the statement from Tan:
Tan Sri Vincent Tan was extremely upset to read quotes from the manager concerning the possibility of new recruits, before he had been informed whether funds would be made available.
He believes that doing so unfairly raises supporter expectations, placing unnecessary pressure on the club.
His view is that due to the funds already committed, including the originally-authorised summer transfer budget of £35m that rose to £50m in total, including add-ons, the manager has been fully supported.
He has stated that not a single penny will be made available in January.
Rafa Benitez is eyeing a fresh raid on his former club Liverpool in the guise of Daniel Agger, according to the Mail's Graeme Yorke.
The Napoli boss has already signed Pepe Reina on loan from the Anfield club, and Yorke claims he wants a similar deal for defender Agger in January.
Agger has struggled for playing time after picking up an injury earlier in the season.
A player potentially on his way into Liverpool is Greek striker Konstantinos Mitroglou.
The Star's Gary Jones claims Liverpool and Arsenal are both keen. Jones' piece also carries quotes from Olympiakos coach Jose Miguel Michel saying there is interest in the forward.
Sunderland forward Ji Dong-won is a potential January transfer target for Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund, according to the Mirror's Alex Richards.
Mirror scribe Richards has been busy, as he has revealed Jake Livermore is open to the prospect of turning his loan move from Tottenham to Hull into a permanent arrangement.
The Mirror's Liam Prenderville has suggested Bryan Ruiz could seek a move away from Fulham to ensure his World Cup prospects with Costa Rica are not harmed.
You often hear about swap talk involving players, but there's manager swap talk in the papers. Gianfranco Zola left Watford on Monday, two days after Steve Clarke was axed by West Brom. The Mirror's Mike Walters is suggesting they could be in line to replace each other.
Everton are eyeing up a double raid on Dundee United for Andrew Robertson and John Souttar, according to the Mirror's Alan Nixon.
Nixon also reports that Queens Park Rangers boss Harry Redknapp is planning a January raid on Newcastle for defender Steven Taylor.
The Mirror's Bill Cooper is reporting that West Ham, Sunderland and Hull are ready to scrap it out for Lorient defender Lamine Kone.