Paper News and Gossip: PSG Eye Luiz, City Expansion, Arsenal Fans' Frustration
The papers were handed an easy piece of meat to get their teeth into with Fulham sacking Rene Meulensteen just a couple of months into the job.
The transfer window is closed, but that does not stop the rumour mill from turning, and there are one or two big names doing the rounds.
There are also tributes to Sir Tom Finney who passed away on Friday evening at the age of 91.
All this and more feature in Saturday’s edition of the Paper News and Gossip Roundup.
Tributes Pour in for the Great Sir Tom Finney
Football is in mourning following the death of the great Sir Tom Finney at the age of 91.
Finney, who played for Preston and England, passed away on Friday and the tributes have flooded in for one of the greatest of all time.
Jeff Powell’s column in the Mail has been devoted to Finney and he has left the readers in no doubt how highly he regarded Preston’s finest son.
With a last shimmy of the hips, twinkle of the eye and straightening of his tie, the greatest of all English footballers has swerved down the wing to immortality.
The mother country of the world game has lost its finest ever player. Period.
This nation has lost the artisan who became our greatest living Englishman.
Tom Finney, fondly known as the Preston Plumber, was more of a gentleman than any born aristocrat, elected politician, charitable tycoon—certainly any modern sporting millionaire—could possibly aspire to be.
Meulensteen Accuses Fulham of Hitting Panic Button
The managerial merry-go-round stops for no man and Rene Meulensteen is the latest to be thrown to the ground.
Fulham took the decision to axe Meulensteen after just 75 days at the helm, with former Bayern Munich boss Felix Magath brought in as his replacement.
Meulensteen spoke to the BBC following his departure, inferring that he knew the axe was being sharpened but feeling the club have panicked.
The Mail’s Sami Mokbel has the quotes:
I knew the owners were freaking out a little bit, that there was the possibility of the club going down.
The way forward that we have discussed with the club was about longevity, and in this case it is clearly an act of fear.
'They have hit the panic button on emotion and fear.
PSG in Frame for David Luiz
David Luiz could be heading out of Chelsea for Paris Saint-Germain, according to the Mail’s Simon Jones.
Luiz’s future has been a subject of conjecture for some time, but he has remained a pivotal figure in Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea side.
Jones, though, feels the Brazilian could be a transfer target once again in the summer.
In his piece, Jones wrote:
Paris Saint-Germain will consider a bid for David Luiz this summer as interest mounts in the Brazilian.
Bayern Munich and Barcelona already have the 26-year-old in mind for next season but PSG are also keen.
The French side are in talks over a new deal for former Chelsea defender Alex who is out of contract in June but are planning ahead and want to pair Luiz with his national side teammate Thiago Silva.
City Set to Expand the Etihad
Manchester City continue to grow on the field. Now they have put plans in place to grow off the field.
The Mail’s John Drayton has confirmed that City have been granted planning permission to expand the Etihad Staduim.
In his piece, Drayton states that City have been given the green light to add 14,500 extra seats, but that the development will be staggered over three stages.
Arsenal Fans Frustrated over Financial Results
Arsenal’s financial results were revealed on Friday, and there are fans of the club who are extremely unhappy about the money left sitting in the bank.
The Gunners have always been sensible with their spending. Now figures have revealed that they have £120.6 million in available cash.
Arsenal have been pegged back in the title race, and there is frustration that they did not make a big-name signing in January while putting up ticket prices.
The Mirror’s John Cross spoke to Tim Payton of the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust, who said:
It is frustrating. There is money in the bank which hasn’t been spent on players and yet ticket prices are still being put up next season and they are asking for more money from supporters for Bayern Munich tickets.
Kosovo Make a Play for Januzaj
Manchester United sensation Adnan Januzaj’s international future continues to command the headlines.
England boss Roy Hodgson put the player back in focus this week when suggesting he would leave it to the FA to approach the teenager.
Januzaj is also eligible to represent Belgium, Albania, Turkey and Serbia, but his first international outing could well come in the colours of Kosovo.
Kosovo’s first-ever match takes place on March 5 against Haiti and the nation’s FA have invited Januzaj to play for them.
The Star’s David Woods has quotes from Eroll Salihu, the secretary general of the Football Federation of Kosovo.
We are in discussions with Adnan’s family and to have a player of his amazing talent play in our very first match would be hugely symbolic.
We feel he owes it to his people to take some part in the match, even if it is for just 15 minutes.
I stress this is a symbolic gesture. By playing in this match we are not thinking he is making any commitment to us.
It is a friendly and would not have an affect on him being able to play for another country in the future.
It is not our purpose to do that, but we hope he can be with us on a very special and memorable occasion.
Sterling Set for England World Cup Starting Place
Raheem Sterling has been in sizzling form for Liverpool in recent weeks, and it has catapulted him into the England mix for the World Cup—according to the Mirror’s Martin Lipton.
The World Cup is four months away, but Lipton claims Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson has been so impressed with the winger that he will start him in Brazil.
Lipton does not have any quotes from Hodgson, but he claims the manager is convinced that Sterling’s pace is a "better fit for the counter-attacking game Hodgson intends to play than likes of Adam Johnson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain."
Bits and Pieces: Newcastle Ready to Axe Ben Arfa, Arsenal Dealt Striker Blow
Newcastle are ready to listen to offers for midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa, with manager Alan Pardew growing increasingly frustrated with the Frenchman, according to the Star’s Ian Murtagh.
Wolfsburg forward Maximilian Arnold is content at the club, which David Wright of the Express has suggested is a blow to Arsenal.
Ruud van Nistelrooy is back on the training ground, with the Mail's Adam Shergold linking the retired Dutch striker with a return to Manchester United.