Paper Gossip: Cole's Chelsea Snub, Arsenal Eye Diego, Van Persie Battle and More
There is the small matter of the Premier League title race being decided on Sunday, but the papers have plenty of other things to focus on.
FA chairman Greg Dyke’s report has commanded a whole host of column inches, and the reaction is far from positive.
The summer is on the horizon, and it is likely to be one of frenzied transfer speculation if the papers on Friday are anything to go by.
Read on to see what caught our eye.
Dyke's B-Team Plan to End in 'Disaster'
Football Association chairman Greg Dyke has unveiled plans to install a Premier League B-team system into the Football League pyramid, and it has not been met with uniform approval.
Martin Samuel has used his column in the Mail to address the issue, and he has voiced grave concerns.
Samuel’s column, titled “Greg Dyke's plan for Premier League B teams will end in disaster...just like in Spain,” opens with a question about how financial fair play will be addressed. The Mail writer points out that it was not mentioned in the 82-page report from the FA Commission.
Given the Football League have tight rules governing spending, Samuel’s points are certainly valid.
Samuel's views are backed up by the Telegraph's Henry Winter, who has suggested that Dyke's plan shows a "lack of respect" for the Football League.
Arsenal Set Sights on Diego
Arsenal could make a summer raid on Atletico Madrid for Diego, per a report from the Mail’s Simon Jones.
But before Gunners fans head out and get the name Costa etched onto the back of their shirts, this is not the striker—rather his namesake Diego.
Jones reveals that the Brazilian midfielder is out of contract in the summer and will have a host of teams on his tail.
Arsenal are one of those teams, according to Jones, and they have been tracking the midfielder for some time.
City Planning Old Trafford Raid for Teen Star
A battle of Manchester is ensuing for teenager Marcus Rashford, according to the Mail’s Simon Jones.
The 16-year-old is currently on the books of United, but Jones suggests City are ready to pounce on a player who is yet to agree new terms.
Jones claims United are “reluctant to pay out big-money contracts” which has left the door ajar for City to make a play.
Juventus in Frame for Kolarov Bid
Jones’ transfer column in the Mail is often a rich source of gossip, and he suggests there could be a player heading out of City this summer.
The player in question is Aleksandar Kolarov, who Jones claims is a target for Serie A champions Juventus.
Jones claims Juve officials met Kolarov’s representatives this week to discuss terms.
The report claims the two parties are well apart in terms of wages, but common ground could be found.
Retirement Not on the Agenda for Rio
Rio Ferdinand is waiting to see if Manchester United will offer him a new contract, but he has no plans to retire.
The former England international is in the final weeks of his United deal and is in limbo following the departure of David Moyes.
With United yet to appoint a new manager, contract talks are on hold. Ferdinand is one of those players unsure of his future, but retirement is not on the agenda.
The Mail’s Jim van Wijk has the quotes:
I am fit, I am healthy and I want to continue playing, I have spoken to a lot of mates of mine in the game and they all say the same thing—keep playing for as long as you can.
The club at the moment is in a position where they can't really make any decisions about anything.
I just want the best solution for the club. Whatever it is, then I will respect it. After that I am open to offers.
Chambers on Arsenal Radar as Sagna Nears Exit
There could be defensive changes at Arsenal in the summer.
While Laurent Koscielny is close to agreeing a new deal, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger fears full-back Bacary Sagna could be heading for the exit door.
Wenger has claimed Arsenal will “respond” to any potential changes to his current crop, and the Mirror’s John Cross suggests Southampton’s Calum Chambers could be a summer target.
United and City Locked in Van Persie Battle
Robin van Persie’s son is keeping his options open, as he is currently playing for both Manchester United and Manchester City.
Per a report from the Mirror’s Paul Byrne, the seven-year-old has been scouted after performing with distinction for his local team, and rules allow him to play for both clubs.
His superstar father has suggested it will be a year or so before his son has to make a decision on whether to commit to United or City.
Cole Set to Snub Chelsea Contract Offer
Ashley Cole has been offered a new deal, according to the Mirror’s John Cross, but he is being tipped to head for the Chelsea exit door.
After a season of frustration, Cole has worked his way back into the Chelsea side in recent weeks.
His impressive form has earned him a contract offer, but Cross claims it is on reduced terms, and that will prompt the defender to take advantage of his status as a free agent.
Cross suggests Cole will not be short of offers, as he claims Manchester City have joined Manchester United, Liverpool and Real Madrid in the chase.
The Express' Tony Banks adds a bit of spice to the Cole saga, as he claims Ligue 1 side Monaco have made a move for the left-back.
Axe Hanging over West Ham Boss Allardyce
Sam Allardyce’s future at West Ham hangs in the balance, with the Mirror’s John Cross suggesting that he will be sacked at the end of the season.
It has been a season of toil for West Ham, but they will end the campaign as a Premier League side.
That, according to Cross, is unlikely to be enough to keep Allardyce in his job.
In his piece, Cross wrote:
The Upton Park club's hierarchy are considering axing Big Sam after the club’s final game of the season, at champions-elect Manchester City on Sunday.
Manager Allardyce has upset the Hammers' fans this season with his style of play, defiant refusal to change his methods and open mocking of the supporters' grumblings.
That has left West Ham co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold in a difficult position, and they believe the time may have come to make a change.
Bits and Pieces: Newcastle Eye McCormack
Newcastle United are in the hunt for Leeds United striker Ross McCormack, per a report from the Mail's Simon Jones.
Kenneth Omeruo has turned down a new contract offer from Chelsea, according to the Express' David Wright.
Liverpool have tabled a £20 million bid for Southampton's Adam Lallana, according to Tony Little of The Sun (Subscription).