Paper News and Gossip: Suarez Not Secure, Cole Quit Talk, Januzaj Dive Storm
It is the Sunday before Christmas, but that has not resulted in the papers winding down for the festive season.
There's talk of an England great calling time on his career, while there is a boat-load of transfer speculation doing the rounds.
And there is contrasting talk surrounding a certain club currently on the lookout for a new manager.
All this and more feature in Sunday's iteration of the Paper News and Gossip Round-up.
Suarez Clause Could Still Spark Liverpool Exit
Luis Suarez signed a new contract with Liverpool last week, but it has not halted the transfer speculation.
Suarez penned the long-term deal on Friday, confirmed by the club’s official website, but he remains a topic of debate.
The Star’s Paul Brown claims Suarez is now earning in a region of around £180,000 a week, but he also writes that the forward has a clause in his contract which would allow him to move on if certain conditions are not met.
In his piece, Brown wrote:
The schemer, 26—who scored twice yesterday against Cardiff to take his tally to 19 in 13 league games—demanded certain guarantees from the Reds’ top brass.
Chief among those was the right to negotiate an exit if either Real Madrid or Barcelona come in for him at the end of the season.
It means that Liverpool could be faced with the same situation all over again next summer—with Real and Barca both weighing up a move.
Cole Toying with Idea of Quitting
Ashley Cole, one of England’s greatest defenders, is considering retiring at the end of the season, according to Joe Bernstein of the Mail.
Cole has suffered an alarming fall from grace this season, having gone from England’s guaranteed starter at left-back to a bench-warmer at Chelsea.
The 33-year-old is in the final year of his contract at Chelsea and Bernstein suggests Cole is toying with the idea of going out at the top in the summer.
In his piece, Bernstein writes:
Cole is attracted by the prospect of ending a glittering 14-year career at the top by playing in next summer's World Cup in Brazil.
The 33-year-old will make history by becoming the first Englishman to play in four World Cup finals.
Although Cole has not made up his mind, friends say he is close to accepting he would prefer to quit at the top rather than struggling on.
Luke Shaw is a potential replacement for Cole and the Mirror's Alan Nixon claims the Southampton man will make the move—if he is guaranteed a shot at a starting place.
Moyes Rules out Falcao Bid
Mail scribe Bernstein has been busy, as he has picked up some quotes from David Moyes suggesting Manchester United are unlikely to enter the market for striker Radamel Falcao.
United made a stuttering start to the season, although they have found some form in recent weeks, while they have also had to go into battle on occasions without the injured Robin van Persie.
Despite van Persie’s struggles with injury this season, Moyes has said he is in no rush to enter the market for an attacker—namely Monaco’s Falcao.
Bernstein has the quotes from Moyes:
I would not say we are in desperate need of an out-and-out centre-forward. We have got Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Chicharito (Hernandez), Danny Welbeck. Shinji can play in behind as well, we are covered.
It is easy for people to throw names up (Falcao), but when they look at it more closely you might say it wasn’t that good a suggestion.
Moyes Backs Januzaj Amid Diving Furore
Moyes has defended Adnan Januzaj in the face of a diving storm.
The young midfielder was booked for falling to the floor under no challenge during Manchester United’s win over West Ham on Saturday.
Moyes has admitted he will speak to Januzaj about the incident but believes the player needs to be given protection from referees.
The Star’s Paul Hetherington has the quotes from Moyes:
It’s up to referees. I just hope they don’t wait until he suffers a bad one.
Adnan was expecting a challenge from James Collins. We will talk to him but I think today you might be talking about the wrong tackle.
Spurs to Stick with Sherwood, but De Boer, Benitez and Van Gaal in the Frame
Tottenham’s search for a successor to Andre Villas-Boas continues and it could well carry on for quite some time yet, as the papers are at odds over who the club want.
Tim Sherwood has been placed in caretaker control and Mail pair Rob Draper and Mark Ryan believe he could remain in place until the end of the season.
The Mail writers suggest Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is looking at Ajax coach Frank de Boer and Napoli boss Rafa Benitez.
In their piece, Draper and Ryan stated: "There has been contact with Ajax coach De Boer and Levy has previously sounded out Benitez, now at Napoli, about the White Hart Lane job.”
However, Draper and Ryan point out that both coaches are not interested in leaving their clubs in the middle of a season.
With their preferred candidates currently tied up, Levy will likely give Sherwood his chance to prove himself between now and the end of the season.
However, the Mirror's Steve Stammers suggests it is Netherlands national boss Louis van Gaal who is top of Levy's list.
Stammers claims Spurs will attempt to convince the Dutch FA to allow Van Gaal to job share between now and the World Cup finals before taking on a full-time role at White Hart Lane.
Wenger Likely to Give Jaded Ozil a Rest
Arsenal are toying with the prospect of pulling summer signing Mesut Ozil from the line of fire.
Ozil arrived at Arsenal from Real Madrid to widespread acclaim and made a lasting early impression.
Allied with Aaron Ramsey in the middle of the park, Ozil helped Arsenal make a flying start to the season.
However, the Germany international’s form has dipped in recent weeks and he was berated by team-mate Per Mertesacker following the Gunners’ loss to Manchester City.
Gunners boss Wenger is aware of Ozil’s troubles and has hinted at giving the midfielder a rest, but he will be in the team to face Chelsea on Monday.
The Mail’s Andrew Warshaw has the quotes from Wenger: "In Germany and most of Europe they have Christmas off and at some stage I will have to give him a break. But Monday night? No."
Fernanda Lima to Tone Down Dress for Ballon D'Or
Fernanda Lima, the Brazilian model who turned heads in a stunning outfit during the Word Cup finals draw, has revealed she will be more conservative in her attire for the Ballon d’Or ceremony.
Per a report from the Mail’s John Drayton, a flood of complaints were made "from Iranians after TV directors in the Islamic Republic cut the draw broadcast because her appearance was too sexy."
Lima will be centre stage again in Zurich on January 13 for the ceremony to crown Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo or Franck Ribery as the world’s top player.
But it will be a toned-down Lima. Drayton has the quotes:
I am sorry for what happened. It was never my intention to offend any country, culture or people, or cause controversy.
I have learned from this experience and will therefore be very careful in choosing my dress for the Ballon d'Or Gala so all can watch.
Everton Stalling on Baines Contract
Everton are yet to open contract talks with star defender Leighton Baines.
The Toffees stood firm and batted back interest from Manchester United for Baines in the summer.
There is talk that United will go in again for Baines; he has a shade over 18 months remaining on his contract.
Everton boss Roberto Martinez claims the club have no need to sell, and no desire to sell, but revealed talks have yet to take place.
The Mirror has the quotes from Martinez:
If I want a player I need to match the valuation to then put the other club and the player in a situation to make a decision.
We have never been in a situation where the valuation has been matched with Leighton.
As a club we don’t need the money. We don’t need to balance the books and that is a situation we wanted to have—to make football decisions, not financial decisions.
Bits and Pieces: Sven in Cardiff Frame, Zenit Eye Kolarov, Taylor Toon Exit Talk
Tension continues to simmer at Cardiff and the Mail’s Ian Ladyman claims owner Vincent Tan has sounded out Sven Goran Eriksson as a potential successor to Malky Mackay.
Newcastle United will demand £10 million for striker Papiss Cisse, according to the Mirror's Clive Hetherington.
Zenit St Petersburg have set their sights on Manchester City defender Aleksandar Kolarov, per a report from the Star's Paul Hetherington.
Steven Taylor is ready to turn his back on Newcastle if he cannot force his way back into the team, per a report from the Star.