Paper News and Gossip: Suarez Is a Rat, £145m Costa and Mourinho's Gone Soft

Alex LivieFeatured ColumnistJanuary 4, 2014

Paper News and Gossip: Suarez Is a Rat, £145m Costa and Mourinho's Gone Soft

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    Clive Rose/Getty Images

    It’s FA Cup third round day and there’s plenty of talk about David toppling Goliath.

    But let’s not forget, it is January and the transfer window is open for business.

    There plenty of talk involving the big clubs, while a certain Jose Mourinho reveals he has a soft centre.

    All this and more feature in Saturday’s edition of the Paper News and Gossip Roundup.

Wenger Laughs off £145m Diego Costa Talk

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    Arsenal continue to be linked with a bid for Diego Costa, but Arsene Wenger has moved to quell the speculation by suggesting it would cost £145 million to prise him away from Atletico Madrid.

    The Gunners are in need of attacking reinforcements, having failed to bring in top-class new blood in the summer, which has resulted in Olivier Giroud having to shoulder the burden.

    Giroud has performed manfully to keep the Gunners in the title race, but he has picked up an injury, as has his understudy Nicklas Bendtner.

    The links with Costa have been strong, such as this piece from the Star's David Woods, and Wenger was asked about the subject by the Mirror’s John Cross in his press conference on Friday.

    In response, Wenger said:

    What, £145m?! Honestly, you want to keep your chances in the season at the best possible level.

    Is it for short term or a stop-gap? Ideally, you want a longer solution. But a longer solution looks much more difficult to find in January than a short gap.

    You can find a solution somewhere—a club that has financial trouble and wants to get rid of a big contract for five or six months.

    But to find in January exactly the player who will be tomorrow’s star on the longer term is much more difficult.

Bendtner Injury May Prompt Mandzukic Move

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    Nicklas Bendtner
    Nicklas BendtnerShaun Botterill/Getty Images

    Bendtner’s injury could sideline him for some time, which the Mail’s Sami Mokbel and Neil Ashton claim will prompt Wenger to enter the market.

    The Mail scribes suggest ankle ligament damage could result in Bendtner sitting out the next couple of months.

    If that is the case, Wenger may make a tilt at the market—and Mokbel and Ashton suggest Bayern Munich’s Mario Mandzukic could be a target.

    In their piece, they write: 

    Sportsmail understands Arsenal are also monitoring Mario Mandzukic at Bayern Munich.

    The Croatian is rated highly by scouting staff and with Robert Lewandowski set to arrive on a controversial free transfer at the Allianz Arena ahead of next season, Mandzukic’s future is under question.

    But any deal for the 27-year-old is unlikely to be explored this month.

'Soft' Jose Mourinho Regrets Juan Mata Treatment at Chelsea

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    Jose Mourinho has suggested he does not like taking a hard-line with players such as Juan Mata as he claims to have a soft heart.

    Mourinho returned to Chelsea in the summer and Mata has been the player who has arguably suffered the most.

    The Spaniard has gone from player of the year for the previous two seasons to a bit-part player under Mourinho and has been heavily linked with a move away from the club in January.

    Mourinho has revealed a soft side in a piece by the Mirror’s Martin Lipton and claims his actions are done for the betterment of the team.

    Per Lipton’s piece, Mourinho said:

    I try to do my job forgetting I have a soft heart, pretending that I have a hard heart. Many times it hurts me, not just with Juan, over the decisions I have to make. But I think to do my job in the best way is to do it thinking the team is more important than any player.

    When I have to make decision I always try to be a cold one, icy, analyse situation and try to make the best decision for the team, maybe not forgetting the player but putting the person secondary.

    But yes, it hurts me. He's a good kid, he works hard and I know it's not easy situation for him not to be playing every time.

    If he came to me and said he wants to leave, I would say, 'Go to Stamford Bridge and speak with the board.' And while he was on his way there, I'd call the board to say 'Don't let him go!'

'Dirty Street Rat' Luis Suarez Impresses Oldham

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    When does calling someone a "dirty street rat" come across as a compliment? When you are Oldham manager Lee Johnson and you are talking about Liverpool’s Luis Suarez.

    It’s FA Cup third round weekend and Oldham will have their chance at giantkilling when they take on Liverpool.

    Suarez is likely to spearhead the Liverpool attack and he has been compared to a "dirty street rat"—but in a nice way.

    The Mirror’s Jeremy Butler has the quotes from Johnson, who played against Suarez when the Uruguayan was at Ajax.

    He's like a dirty street rat, and I mean that in the best possible way.

    He's sharp and horrible - all that is in admiration for him, because he's a winner. He has that desire to be better today than he was yesterday.

    I played against Suarez for Bristol City and I failed miserably—he scored. I remember asking, 'who was that lad up front?' He wasn't well known then. I was like, 'who on Earth is that?' I was meant to stop the ball up to him but you just can't. Sometimes players are just too good.

    Having a world class player like him play against Oldham, is the equivalent of me playing in a fans' game. Someone can say, 'mark him,' but if I move one way, I've got a yard.

Moyes Admits to Rooney Future Doubts

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    Doubts continue to surround the future of Wayne Rooney, amid talk he is not prepared to sign a new deal at Manchester United at present.

    It was suggested by Chris Wheeler of the Mail that Rooney was prepared to wait and see where United finish in the Premier League, and the subsequent investment that was made in the squad, before making a decision on his future.

    The nightmare scenario for United is if they fail to qualify for next season’s Champions League and it is something Moyes is aware of.

    Moyes was asked about the prospect of Rooney signing a new deal if United missed out on the Champions League and his response was far from convincing.

    The Mirror’s David McDonnell has the quotes from Moyes, who said: "We would have to wait and see what happened in that situation. [But] I thought if you looked at his performances, he's certainly playing at his best."

Rio Ferdinand Fighting for His United Future

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    Rio Ferdinand is playing for his Manchester United future between now and the end of the season, per a piece from the Star’s Jeremy Cross.

    The former England defender is in the final months of his contract, but he has found regular playing time at United tough to come by this season.

    Cross’ piece is tagged exclusive and he claims the club have an option to renew Ferdinand’s contract on the same terms and will hand the player the chance to prove he is worthy of an extension.

Bits and Pieces: PSG Eye Hazard, QPR in for Jelavic, Mixed News for West Ham

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    The Star's Nick Lustig claims Paris Saint-Germain are plotting a summer raid on Chelsea for winger Eden Hazard.

    Everton's Nikica Jelavic is in line to face Queens Park Rangers in the FA Cup, but he could be on the move there immediately after the game, according to Timothy Abraham of the Mirror.

    Aston Villa have made a £1.5 million bid for Norwich City's Wes Hoolahan, reports John Cross of the Mirror

    The Mirror's Neil McLeman says West Ham are prepared to sell Ravel Morrison in January but that no bids have been made for the midfielder.

    There is some positive news for West Ham, with the Mail's Craig Hope claiming Andy Carroll is back in training.

    Hope's fellow Mail writer Simon Jones suggests Carroll could have some attacking help, with Monaco's Lacina Traore in the frame for a loan move to Upton Park.

    Stoke are planning to turn Stephen Ireland's loan move from Aston Villa into a permanent arrangement, reports the Express' David Wright.