The big game this weekend sees Chelsea face Manchester United, and the mind games have started.
Wayne Rooney will not feature in the game on account of injury, but he’s on the lips of both managers.
Steven Gerrard has been tipped to emulate Andrea Pirlo, while Arsene Wenger’s commented on his future.
There’s transfer speculation aplenty and more in Saturday’s iteration of the Paper News and Gossip Roundup.
The mind games have kicked off ahead of Chelsea’s clash with Manchester United on Sunday, with the one surprise being that it has taken until now to crank into life.
Blues boss Jose Mourinho was asked about Wayne Rooney, a player he pursued during the summer.
Mourinho feels there is little chance of Chelsea getting their hands on the striker, but he opened up a can of worms by suggesting United might sell their star man in the summer.
The Daily Mail’s Sami Mokbel has the quotes:
They don’t swap. They don’t sell. I don’t see that changing, they were very clear about that.
Will it be the same this summer? I think maybe this summer they will try to sell to a non-direct rival. But they were very clear, not to a domestic direct rival.
United boss David Moyes was made aware of Mourinho's comments and not surprisingly disagreed. The Scot also claimed he would not be sucked into any mind games.
In a piece by the Daily Mirror's David Maddock, Moyes said:
I completely disagree. I can only tell you I disagree.
I wouldn’t talk about other managers at other clubs and I wouldn’t talk about other players at other clubs. I can’t tell you what his motivation is, but only time will give you the answer about Wayne.
Wilfried Zaha’s frustration looks set to continue, with Manchester United boss David Moyes telling the forward he’s unlikely to go out on loan.
Zaha has cut little ice under Moyes but it had been widely reported that he would be allowed to seek out regular playing time on loan in the second half of the season.
Moyes, though, has injuries to Ashley Young and Nani to contend with and does not want to leave his squad short. And it looks like Zaha will be the one made to wait.
The Daily Mail’s Ian Ladyman has the quotes:
I have told him that if I can’t get him the games I will put him out on loan.
But he can’t go out while we have Ashley and Nani injured and I would be surprised if anyone thought was a possibility.
Manchester United’s hopes of signing Lucas Moura from PSG have been dashed, per a report from the Daily Star’s Colin Harvey.
United boss David Moyes had been spotted at a PSG game, per a report from the Independent's Charles Reynolds, and Harvey claims Moura was the man he was casting his eye over.
However, Harvey has picked up on quotes from the midfielder’s agent Wagner Ribeiro who claims his client will not be on the move in January.
Lucas Moura isn't playing as much as we want, but he has been playing the most important games.
It's not part of the plans to leave Paris now, he is slowing gaining his place in the team.
Liverpool fans could well get the chance to watch Steven Gerrard for a few more years, if Reds boss Brendan Rodgers’ prediction rings true.
Gerrard is 33, but Rodgers feels the England captain can adapt his game and play on until he is 40.
Per a piece from the Daily Mirror’s David Maddock, Rodgers claims Gerrard has accepted a more holding role and feels he can take on the job and flourish like Andrea Pirlo.
Maybe he wasn’t ready to do it 18 months ago because he had so much to his game, but it is a position that I know excites him now.
Tactically, once he does more work on when to become the third man dropping in or pushing on, he’s got a great chance of playing that role to the level of a Pirlo or a Javier Zanetti.
They are doing it late in their 30s—Zanetti is 40—and because of the way Stevie looks after himself, that is a position he can play for sure.
He’s not gone to Eric Cantona levels of cryptic, but Arsene Wenger has spoken about his future without delivering a firm conclusion.
Wenger is yet to commit to a new deal at Arsenal, with suggestions Paris Saint-Germain are waiting in the wings to lure him back to France.
But Arsenal are flying high, and Wenger has suggested he is close to making an announcement on his future.
The Daily Mirror’s John Cross has the quotes from Wenger, who said: "There is a point where you have to decide and there is a point where you have to make your decision public. You can take of that sentence the way you want it."
So what does the future hold for Wenger? Cross is of the opinion that the Frenchman will sign a new deal at the Emirates.
It appears Chelsea are ready to sell goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
The Belgian has been on loan at Atletico Madrid for the last three seasons and the Spaniards want to sign him on a permanent deal.
Courtois has been tipped to succeed Petr Cech at Chelsea, but it appears they are open to a deal.
However, Atletico president Enrique Cerezo claims the Blues are asking too much for the player.
The Daily Mirror’s John Cross has the quotes:
Courtois is incredible on the pitch. We are interested but the price is too much for a keeper.
We want to try to do business, but it depends on Chelsea. We must study everything.
Everton boss Roberto Martinez feels there is little chance of the club keeping striker Romelu Lukaku next season.
Lukaku has made a massive impression since joining the club on loan from Chelsea.
It is not clear what Chelsea will do with Lukaku next term, but Martinez feels the Stamford Bridge club will take him back into the fold.
Per a report from the Daily Star’s Timothy Abraham, Martinez said: “I know Chelsea are not contemplating listening to any offers and Romelu is highly regarded there.”
There’s trouble at West Brom, according to a piece from the Daily Mail’s Neil Moxley. The writer claims club sponsors Zoopla have told the Baggies to axe striker Nicolas Anelka following his controversial quenelle goal celebration or face losing their deal.
The Daily Mail's Laurie Whitwell claims Celtic boss Neil Lennon has emerged as a target for Norwich, should the Canaries sack Chris Hughton.
Everton are ready to step in and snatch Monaco striker Lacina Traore from under the noses of West Ham, according to the Daily Mail's Simon Jones.
Southampton have batted back a loan offer from Inter Milan for Dani Osvaldo, according to the Daily Mirror's Alex Crook.
The Express' Charles Perrin claims Liverpool are plotting a summer move for Lazio's Antonio Candreva.