Changing managers did nothing for Tottenham’s on-field fortunes, but they remain headline news.
There’s plenty of injury talk in the papers, with Wayne Rooney and Andros Townsend featuring.
And with the transfer window looming, there’s speculation aplenty. All this and more feature in Thursday’s edition of the Paper News and Gossip Roundup.
Tottenham began life without Andre Villas-Boas with defeat to West Ham, but the Portuguese is still headline news.
Emmanuel Adebayor, a player who could not get a start under Villas-Boas, was on target to fire Spurs ahead. But they were pegged back as the Hammers won 2-1 to reach the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup.
But post-game talk still focused on Villas-Boas. Mass changes were made to the playing staff in the summer following the sale of Gareth Bale. But the Mail's Matt Barlow has claimed that not all the arrivals were sanctioned by the manager.
In his piece, Barlow wrote:
Andre Villas-Boas did not approve four of Tottenham’s seven summer signings and asked chairman Daniel Levy not to buy them.
Villas-Boas objected to the acquisitions of Erik Lamela, Nacer Chadli, Vlad Chiriches and Christian Eriksen, a quartet who cost Spurs a total of £56 million, but his judgment was overruled.
The Portuguese manager asked his chairman to buy Hulk, Joao Moutinho and David Villa as he planned for life without Gareth Bale.
Who will take charge of Tottenham? That's a question the bookmakers do not appear to have an answer to, as there is no firm favourite.
The Mirror's John Cross has thrust Ajax boss Frank de Boer into the spotlight.
Cross claims De Boer promotes the brand of free-flowing football favoured by Tottenham.
Tellingly, Cross claims "discreet enquiries" have been made to ascertain whether there is any interest from De Boer in succeeding Villas-Boas.
No manager and no flying England winger would appear to be the hand Tottenham have been dealt.
Caretaker boss Tim Sherwood admitted in a post-game interview, following the loss to West Ham, that Andros Townsend could be sidelined for a lengthy spell with a hamstring injury.
The Mirror's Chris Richards picked up on Sherwood's comments.
When asked if Townsend could be out for a considerable time, Sherwood replied: "It looks like it.
"It looks like he pulled up with a hamstring."
Manchester United boss David Moyes has eased fears over the fitness of striker Wayne Rooney.
Rooney was absent from the Capital One Cup win at Stoke City on Wednesday night, which sparked rumours that the England forward had a problem.
Moyes confirmed Rooney has picked up a groin complaint, but played down fears he could be looking at a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
The Press Association's Simon Stone has Moyes' view on Rooney.
"It's a groin strain," said Moyes. And replying to a question as to whether Rooney could be in the side to face West Ham, Moyes replied: "He has got a chance, yes."
United are already without Robin van Persie as they head towards the busy festive programme.
Jack Wilshere will plead his case at a Football Association commission on Thursday, with the Arsenal man looking to avoid a two-game ban.
Wilshere has admitted aiming an offensive hand gesture towards Manchester City fans last weekend.
Television cameras picked up the incident, which was not seen by referee Martin Atkinson, and it prompted the FA to begin disciplinary proceedings.
A previous incident saw Blackpool's Tom Ince handed a two-game ban. However, according to the Star's Scott Coleman, Arsenal and Wilshere feel that punishment would be too severe.
A two-game ban would result in Wilshere missing the clashes with Chelsea and West Ham.
Diego Costa could be the striker Arsenal target in the January transfer window, according to the Mail’s John Drayton.
Having missed out on the likes of Luis Suarez and Wayne Rooney in the summer, Arsene Wenger has seen his side perform admirably in the first half of the season.
Olivier Giroud’s scoring levels have dipped in recent weeks, and Wenger may well be planning to bring him some support in January.
Drayton suggests the man in question could be Atletico powerhouse Costa.
In his piece, Drayton wrote:
Arsenal are continuing to watch Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa, with the Brazilian goal machine carrying a £32 million release clause.
Gunners scouts will travel to Atletico's two games this week against Sant Andreu and Levante, but it is thought the North London club do not wish to stretch to the 25-year-old's release clause.
'You don't need Sergio Aguero, you've got me,' would appear to be the line to take from Mirror reporter James Nursey's piece on Edin Dzeko.
Aguero is facing an extended spell on the sidelines due to injury, which is threatening to blow a hole in Manchester City's push for silverware on four fronts.
City could bolster their attack in the January transfer window, but Dzeko is ready to fill the goalscoring void.
Per Nursey's piece, Dzeko said:
Sergio has had an amazing season, scoring a lot of goals, and he is an important player for us.
That's life, and now we have to try to play games without him, and try to win. This is very bad for the team but there are a lot of players who want to play.
I am happy to score two—that's my job. I hope it means I am back among the goals.
I am a striker that has scored goals all my life, and I love to do it. When I get a chance I try to do my best. We have a superb squad and recently have scored a lot of goals.
Manchester City are getting in the habit of pipping their rivals to rising stars.
Earlier in the week, City edged out Arsenal and Manchester United to the capture of teenage goalkeeper Kjetil Haug, per a report from the Star’s Colin Harvey.
And according to a report from the Mirror’s Alex Richards, City have beaten the same rivals to the capture of 17-year-old Nigerian Kelechi Iheanacho.
Per Richards’ report, Iheanacho’s father said: "We prayed and, after talks with family members, we came up with Manchester City, believing he has a future there.”
Gael Kakuta is unlikely to return to Chelsea, as the French forward has spoken of his desire to leave on a permanent basis.
Kakuta made the move from Lens to Chelsea in 2007, but the move has not panned out as planned, and Kakuta has spent a number of spells away from the club on loan.
He is currently on loan at Vitesse Arnhem and is set on a permanent transfer.
The Star’s Colin Harvey has quotes from Kakuta.
I am very grateful for my time at Chelsea.
But like any professional footballer, I want to play regularly in order to give new impetus to my career and evolve to a higher level.
I know I am ready for this challenge.
Fredy Guarin’s agent has confirmed talks have taken place with Chelsea.
The Blues have been persistently linked with the Inter Milan midfielder, and it appears the speculation has weight.
Guarin’s agent claims the player is in no rush to move, but it appears he is open to a transfer.
The Mirror’s Liam Prenderville has the quotes from an interview agent Marcelo Ferreyra gave to Caracol Radio:
We have already been to London with Inter and met with Chelsea directors to make their interest formal.
If both clubs reach an agreement, a transfer is an option, but Fredy is happy at Inter as well if they don't agree terms.
Fredy feels important under Walter Mazzarri. The upcoming World Cup also plays a role. We will also meet with the Inter owner to see what the project looks like here.
Ivan Rakitic has dangled a carrot in front of Liverpool and Manchester United by saying there is no certainty he will remain with Sevilla.
The Croatian midfielder claims he is 100 percent focused on Sevilla and not looking to move on, but he has not slammed the door shut on an exit.
The Star’s Colin Harvey carries quotes from Rakitic in his piece:
I can assure you that I’m 100 percent focused on Sevilla and I only think about our next match.
A football player can never say with certainty that he will remain in his club.
Rakitic, who has been linked with Liverpool and United, has warned Sevilla that he will not settle for mediocrity.
Per Harvey’s piece, Rakitic said: “It is clear that in such a big club people can not be satisfied with average results. If there is no success, if there are no trophies, frustration grows."
Arsenal and Manchester City have been sounded out about the prospect of signing Spain captain Iker Casillas in January, according to the Mirror's John Cross.
Casillas continues to warm the bench at Real Madrid, which is a cause of concern for Spain ahead of next summer's World Cup.
Cross claims agents have been pushing Casillas to clubs in the Premier League, City and Arsenal among them.
The Mirror writer suggests there could be interest from City due to Joe Hart's inconsistency, but claims the chances of a move to Arsenal are slim on account of Wojciech Szczesny's impressive run of form.
Blackpool are ready to offer Tom Ince a new contract in a bid to stave off interest from the likes of Tottenham and Newcastle, according to the Mirror's Liam Prenderville.
Fulham forward Bryan Ruiz has emerged as a transfer target for Belgian side Anderlecht, according to the Mirror's Jacob Murtagh.
Swansea have trained their sights on Manchester City midfielder Abdisalam Ibrahim, per a report from the Mirror's John Cross.