Paper Gossip: Man City Refuse to Sell Toure, Van Gaal Eyes Mandzukic for Man Utd
The strange happenings around Yaya Toure and Manchester City dominate the back pages on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, the midfielder's agent appeared to suggest Toure was upset at the club's failure to mark the player's birthday, something which was disproved on the official City website.
But then the Ivory Coast international seemed to claim his agent was correct, and he was unhappy at the Etihad Stadium.
Across Manchester, new United manager Louis van Gaal is eyeing up a number of targets for the new season with Mario Mandzukic high on the list, according to one report.
But who else is making the headlines on Wednesday? Read on to find out more.
Manchester City Will Refuse to Sell Toure as Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool Linked
The surreal events surrounding Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure have alerted Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool, reports Colin Harvey of the Daily Star.
The Ivory Coast international appeared to distance himself from his agent's claim that he was unhappy at the club after they forgot his birthday, as Antony Kastrinakis of The Sun (subscription required) reported.
However, Toure later confirmed he WAS unhappy at the Etihad Stadium and is quoted by Kastrinakis as saying:
Yes, I have talked before about ending my career at Barcelona — but we don’t know because football is moving fast and you never know about tomorrow.
My agent, Dimitry, is always on the phone and he knows what he has to do because I trust him a lot.
The main thing now is just to try and focus on the World Cup and he knows what he has to do because we were always open about everything and I am able to talk with him for a couple of days now.
Because of the brilliant season Manchester City have had, everybody is talking about me and everything is open and we don’t know tomorrow.
Kastrinakis also credits Barcelona, Real Madrid and Monaco with an interest in the City star, along with PSG and Bayern Munich.
But City will refuse to sell Toure, reports David McDonnell of the Daily Mirror.
Meanwhile, UEFA is considering redistributing the fine imposed on Manchester City over Financial Fair Play regulations around other Premier League clubs and those competing in Europe, reports Ben Rumsby of the Daily Telegraph.
Louis Van Gaal Adds Mario Mandzukic to Man Utd Transfer Targets
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal is weighing up a move for Mario Mandzukic, reports Jack Wilson of the Daily Star.
But the new Old Trafford boss could face competition from Arsenal and Chelsea for the Bayern Munich striker, claims the article.
Van Gaal also has PSV Eindhoven striker Memphis Depay among his possible signings, reports Rob Beasley of The Sun (subscription required).
Darren Lewis of the Daily Mirror reports that Van Gaal will challenge Liverpool for the signature of Dnipro winger Yevhen Konoplyanka this summer.
Luke Shaw is moving closer to a United move, according to Alan Nixon of the Daily Mirror, who claims the Southampton defender has been house-hunting in the north-west of England.
Louis Van Gaal Will Have No Problem with Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United
New Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has no issue with the continuing presence of Sir Alex Ferguson at the club, reports Neil Custis of The Sun (subscription required).
The Holland head coach will take charge at Old Trafford when his involvement in the World Cup finals come to an end.
Custis claims that the presence of Ferguson at matches and around the club was viewed as extra pressure by former United boss David Moyes.
But Van Gaal is quoted as saying:
I don’t think he is the biggest problem. I put more pressure on myself than others do.
I’ll undoubtedly have a drink with Ferguson. We’ve done that before and we like each other.
But nobody can put more pressure on myself than I do, so I do not expect any problem with Ferguson.
Liverpool, Real Madrid, Monaco Linked with Move for Ashley Cole
Liverpool have sounded out Chelsea defender Ashley Cole over a possible move, reports Duncan Wright of the Daily Star.
The former England international confirmed his exit from Stamford Bridge earlier this week, notes the article, and the Reds want to offer him a two-year deal.
But John Cross of the Daily Mirror claims that Real Madrid are also chasing Cole for a potential summer move, while crediting Manchester City, United, Monaco and Inter Milan with an interest in the player.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale Fit for Real Madrid's Champions League Tilt
Both players have struggled with niggling injuries in recent weeks, but Bernabeu head coach Carlo Ancelotti insists only Pepe and Karim Benzema are injury doubts for the final against Atletico Madrid in Lisbon.
Ancelotti is quoted as saying:
They're the only two players about whom we have doubts.
I'm neither optimistic nor pessimistic. I'm a realist and, as things stand right now, of course they wouldn't be able to play.
There's no problem (with Bale and Ronaldo) and I think those two are going to be able to play.
Gareth had a problem initially, but when he found his best physical condition he was a very important player with good numbers in goals and assists.
He's very important for the team and it will be the same in the final.
England Midfielder Frank Lampard Set to Extend Stay with Chelsea
The England international's current deal with the Stamford Bridge club expires this summer, but Banks claims that the former West Ham man will sign a new one-year deal when he returns from a World Cup training camp at the weekend.
Lampard will join John Terry in extending his stay by a further season and a source close to the midfielder is quoted as saying:
Frank is feeling very positive about the whole thing.
He fully expects his Chelsea future to be resolved at some point next week before he flies off to Brazil.
He is not looking at any other option other than spending next season at Stamford Bridge.
Ross Barkley Won't Be Leaving Everton After World Cup, Insists Roberto Martinez
Ross Barkley will not be leaving Everton this summer even if he shines brightly at the World Cup, says Goodison Park manager Roberto Martinez.
David Anderson of the Daily Mirror reports that Chelsea are tracking the 20-year-old midfielder, who has been included in the England squad for the World Cup finals.
But Everton manager Martinez is quoted as saying:
I always feel as a manager, you develop a relationship with players and you’re always honest with them.
Ross is a phenomenal talent, probably the best English talent I have ever seen, but he is not the finished article yet and you need to be very careful.
It’s our duty to protect him and I know Everton is the perfect place for him for the next 12 months.
In football, obviously you can never speak about the future. Obviously we need to come along and try to get into the top four positions to offer players like Ross the next stage of their development.
But Ross is delighted at Everton and feels very much in the right place at the right time of his career.
England Receive World Cup Boost over Phil Jones and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
England manager Roy Hodgson has received a World Cup boost after both Phil Jones and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain joined in training with the squad in Portugal, reports Martin Lipton of the Daily Mirror.
Manchester United defender Jones missed the end of the season with a shoulder injury but is on course for full fitness before the tournament kicks off, claims the article.
Arsenal star Oxlade-Chamberlain was absent from the FA Cup final win over Hull City at the end of the campaign with a groin problem, but he has stepped up his recovery programme at the Portugal camp, according to Lipton.
West Ham Keep Sam Allardyce as Manager but with 'Attacking' Caveat
Sam Allardyce is staying on as West Ham United manager, but he will have to produce a more attacking brand of football and reach the Premier League top 10 next season, reports Darren Lewis of the Daily Mirror.
The former Bolton and Blackburn boss's position has been under consideration by the Upton Park hierarchy, and they have now decided to keep Allardyce at the club providing he can meet their demands, claims the article.
A club statement said:
Sam deserves credit for the job he has done thus far, securing promotion in his first year and two respectable Premier League finishes in the two years thereafter.
The truly historic opportunity of a move to the Olympic Stadium in 2016 forms a major part of our five-year strategy to take this Club forward.
While we have a duty to make sure we stay in the Premier League, we also want to make sure the performances on the pitch will befit a team playing in such a world-renowned stadium.