Paper News and Gossip: Chelsea 'To Sell Stars' to Fund Striker Raid, Ramsey Back

Ian Rodgers@irodgers66World Football Staff WriterApril 4, 2014

Paper News and Gossip: Chelsea 'To Sell Stars' to Fund Striker Raid, Ramsey Back

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Jose Mourinho is again the headline story on Friday, with reports claiming the Chelsea manager may have to fund his chase for new strikers by selling some stellar names in his squad.

    Eden Hazard and Oscar are among those reported to be possible departures as the Stamford Bridge boss overhauls his forward line completely.

    Elsewhere in Friday's papers, Arsenal could be boosted by the return of Aaron Ramsey for the crucial Premier League trip to Everton on Sunday.

    But who else is making the headlines on Friday? Read on to find out more.

Oscar or Hazard Sale Could Fund Mandzukic, Costa Moves by Chelsea

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    Chelsea might have to sell either Oscar or Eden Hazard to fund an overhaul of their forward line, reports Martin Lipton of the Daily Mirror.

    Blues manager Jose Mourinho bemoaned his lack of strikers after the 3-1 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League on Wednesday.

    Now Lipton claims the Stamford Bridge club may need to offload a star midfielder alongside forwards Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Samuel Eto'o to fund moves for Diego Costa and Mario Mandzukic.

    Chelsea legend Ray Wilkins believes Torres' time at the club is over after a disappointing performance in Paris on Wednesday, reports Mike Donovan of The Sun (subscription required).

    Wilkins is quoted as saying:

    Torres has no future at Chelsea. He has seen his time out there.

    He moved from a Liverpool side where he was so successful and he came to Chelsea, where the style of play is so totally different.

    He needs the space in behind people in which to run. He needs to make those runs though. He needs to make the players find him. Sometimes it is down to the individual.

    He needs to make something happen.

Petr Cech in No Mood to Surrender Chelsea No. 1 Spot to Thibaut Courtois

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech is not concerned at the prospect of Thibaut Courtois returning to the club, reports Matt Barlow of the Daily Mail.

    Courtois has claimed he is not prepared to return from his lengthy loan spell with Atletico Madrid unless he is the No. 1 goalkeeper at the club.

    But Cech has been in peerless form for the Blues this season, and he will not relinquish his position easily.

    The Czech Republic international is quoted as saying:

    If, on the first day of pre-season, Thibaut Courtois is here, he is here. If he is not, he is not. It doesn't change anything for me.

    You could ask John Terry or Gary Cahill about the very promising French central defender bought by the club.

    If he comes back and he’s better than me, credit to him, well done to him, but who knows? I’m not afraid. I’m not a fool to think I’ve been here 10 years and I’ll be here another five, just because.

    I am not playing because my name is Petr Cech. I’m playing because I’ve been playing well and because the manager thinks it improves the team with me in goal.

    I’ve never had a manager who would just put me in the goal because everybody was used to seeing me there.

Aaron Ramsey Poised to Make Arsenal Return vs. Everton on Sunday

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    Aaron Ramsey is set to boost Arsenal's Champions League hopes by returning to action in the crucial match at Everton on Sunday, reports Mark Irwin of The Sun (subscription required).

    The Wales international has not played since picking up a thigh injury against West Ham United on Boxing Day, during which time the Gunners' Premier and Champions League challenges have faltered.

    Ramsey was in excellent form before his injury, and his return will be a major boost for Arsene Wenger's team, claims Irwin.

    Wenger is quoted as saying: "Aaron and Nacho Monreal are back training with the squad and hopefully will be available for Sunday, so that is good news."

Sunderland 'Secretly Fined' for Fielding Ineligible Ji Dong-Won in Matches

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    Sunderland were "secretly fined" by the Premier League for fielding Ji Dong-Won in five matches, reports Charlie Wyett of The Sun (subscription required).

    The South Korea international played in four league games and the Capital One Cup win over MK Dons earlier this season, despite not having international clearance, claims the article.

    The Black Cats raised the error with the Premier League themselves, and they were handed a fine by the governing body and the Football League.

    However, Ji helped Sunderland gain a point in one game against Southampton, which could lead to questions from other struggling Premier League clubs about why no point deduction was enforced, warns Wyett.

    MK Dons have spoken with the Football League over clarification on the issue, adds the report.

Liverpool 'Re-Enter the Chase' to Sign Dnipro Winger Yevhen Konoplyanka

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    The agent for Dnipro winger Yevhen Konoplyanka has hinted that Liverpool have resumed their interest in the player, reports David Kent of the Daily Mail.

    The Reds targeted the Ukraine international during the January transfer window, and they even had a delegation in the eastern Europe country to finalise the move before the deal fell flat before the window closed, notes the article.

    But now Konoplyanka's representative James Lippett made a cryptic suggestion on his Twitter feed, @JamLipp78, saying: "En route to Liverpool..."

    Meanwhile, Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has been backed to lift the Premier League title by former team-mate Gary McAllister, reports Chris Bascombe of the Daily Telegraph.

    McAllister is quoted as saying:

    Stevie is 33 but this is only the third chance he has had to win the Premier League. It is such a difficult league to win and it would complete his set.

    Obviously there was a little foray into thinking if he would need to go somewhere else to win it but it would not have meant as much to him as this.

    The biggest clubs in the world have all asked for him but he’s put Liverpool ahead of them all.

    If it happens, I can’t think there would be anyone who deserves it more.

Manchester City Closing in on Eliaquim Mangala as Radamel Falcao Linked

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    Paulo Duarte

    Manchester City are closing in on the capture of Porto defender Eliaquim Mangala, reports Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail.

    According to the article, sources in Portugal claim City sporting director Txiki Begiristain was in Porto this week to watch the 23-year-old.

    Mokbel claims that City are hopeful of completing the deal before the new Premier League season begins.

    Meanwhile, Mike Keegan of the Manchester Evening News claims City officials have met with Monaco striker Radamel Falcao and his agent in Madrid.

Bits and Pieces: Manchester United Need Permission for Friendlies, Romelu Lukaku

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    Manchester United will need the Football Association's permission to play lucrative friendlies around the world next season if they fail to qualify for Europe, reports Mark Ogden of the Daily Telegraph.

    According to the report, United will seek to play in friendlies across the globe to offset the loss of Champions League finances next season.

    But Ogden warns that the club will need the green light from the FA to take part in such matches during the season.

    Everton have moved ahead of Tottenham Hotspur in the chase to sign Romelu Lukaku from Chelsea, reports Darren Lewis of the Daily Mirror.

    Aston Villa and Belgium striker Christian Benteke has been ruled out of the World Cup after suffering an Achilles tendon injury in training, reports Tony Little of The Sun (subscription required).