Paper Gossip: Wenger Backs Kallstrom, Mourinho Writes off Chelsea and More

Alex LivieFeatured ColumnistFebruary 3, 2014

Paper Gossip: Wenger Backs Kallstrom, Mourinho Writes off Chelsea and More

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    The transfer window is closed in the UK, but it's still open outside the country and there's a Premier League club on alert.

    Wilfried Zaha could not get a game at Manchester United, but his new boss is talking up the winger.

    There's the small matter of a Premier League clash between Manchester City and Chelsea, and the mind games are in full flow.

    All this and more features in Monday's edition of the Paper News and Gossip Roundup.

Wenger Wouldn't Have Signed Kallstrom, but Backs Him to Shine

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    Arsenal’s signing of Kim Kallstrom gets more farcical by the day.

    It came as a shock when the Gunners swooped to sign the Sweden midfielder on loan from Spartak Moscow on deadline day.

    It came as a bigger shock on Saturday when it emerged Kallstrom arrived at the club with an injury that would sideline him for around six weeks.

    It was reported on Sunday (the Sun, subscription) that Arsene Wenger was trying to backtrack and send the player back to Spartak.

    Wenger has confirmed this and admitted that had he had more time he would not have swooped for Kallstrom, but he still feels the Swede could play a vital role.

    The Mail’s Neil Ashton has the quotes:

    It crossed my mind not to sign him on Friday night and if we had two or three days more then maybe we wouldn't have done it.

    At some stage during the season we have had all our central midfielders—Flamini, Wilshere, Arteta, Ramsey, Chamberlain and Cazorla—missing.

    There is a possibility for every player that they may not play, but there’s also the chance he scores a winning goal that is vitally important.

Carroll's Ice Bath Shock from Charlie Webster

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    West Ham striker Andy Carroll received a huge shock on Saturday, and it wasn't the red card he received against Swansea.

    Having been given his marching orders, Carroll—according to the Mail’s Charles Sale—trudged to the physio room for an ice bath, only to find television presenter Charlie Webster had beaten him to it.

    The Sky Sports News presenter was given the run of West Ham’s fitness suite, having just completed a 250-mile charity bike ride, and she was in the ice bath when Carroll arrived.

    Sale stated that Carroll allowed Webster to continue her routine and wait. What a gentleman.

Fenerbahce in for Cisse

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    The transfer window is closed, so managers can breathe a sigh of relief, right?

    Wrong. The window is still open for one more day in Turkey and the Mail’s Sami Mokbel claims Newcastle are bracing themselves for a bid from Fenerbahce for striker Papiss Cisse.

    In his piece, Mokbel wrote:

    Fenerbahce are putting together a last-minute package to sign Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse.

    The Turkish club are seven points clear at the top of the Super Lig and want to reinforce their title chances with the capture of a new striker.

    Fenerbahce have identified the Senegal international as a potential signing ahead of the Turkish transfer deadline on Monday afternoon.

    Having lost Yohan Cabaye to Paris Saint-Germain last week, any further weakening of the squad will come as a blow to a side who have lost five of their last seven games.

Zaha Can Be as Good as Ronaldo

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    How good is Wilfried Zaha? Not good enough for a regular start under David Moyes, who bombed the winger out on loan to Cardiff City.

    Bluebirds boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has gone to the other end of the spectrum in a bid to build up the winger, as he has compared the Manchester United loanee to Cristiano Ronaldo.

    The Mirror’s Matt Lloyd has the quotes:

    He is one of the best I have seen with the ball.

    He has quick feet and is brave like Cristiano and wants to go forward.

    But he has got to make a decision about how good does he want to be and how much does he love this game. He can grow up to become a proper player like Ronaldo if he wants.

Mourinho Writes off Chelsea Title Chances

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    Manchester City take on Chelsea in a huge match on Monday, but Blues boss Jose Mourinho has written off his side’s chances of picking up the title.

    City and Chelsea are second and third respectively behind Arsenal in the title race, while they are first and second in the betting for the Premier League crown.

    Mourinho, though, has moved to deflect pressure away from his side by saying a title challenge was never on the agenda this season.

    The Star’s Adrian Kajumba has the quotes:

    If we finish second it’s fantastic.

    If we finished second doing the formation work, it’s an acceleration of our process.

    It’s good. City are complete. They have everything good. We are not favourites to win any competition.

    Next pre-season, on day one, I will say Chelsea are a candidate to win the Premier League.

Rodgers Backs Toure After Error

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    Kolo Toure’s error saw Liverpool lose ground in the title race with a 1-1 draw at West Brom, but he has been absolved of blame by Reds boss Brendan Rodgers.

    Toure inexplicably gifted possession to Victor Anichebe for West Brom’s leveller.

    It was the sort of error that prompts defenders to want the ground to swallow them up, but Toure will not be called out by his manager.

    The Express’ David Wright has the quotes:

    I've never criticised my players for trying to play football.

    Kolo probably shouldn't have received the ball under pressure, and a pass can be misplaced.

    Sometimes it will cost you. Today was unfortunately one of those days.

    Kolo Toure has been brilliant for me, a real leader and an outstanding professional and unfortunately it was that mistake, but there's no blame on him.

Laudrup Under Pressure at Swansea

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    Sang Tan/Associated Press

    Michael Laudrup’s future at Swansea City is under scrutiny, according to a report from the Mail’s Riath Al-Samarrai.

    Having led the club to Capital One Cup glory last term, it was felt Laudrup would kick on and propel the Swans up the Premier League.

    Things have not gone as planned, while the uncertainty surrounding the Dane can hardly have helped—with a claim that he would head for a new challenge in the summer.

    Riath Al-Samarrai claims that uncertainly has prompted some of the club’s board to question whether Laudrup should be moved on now rather than wait until the summer to see him walk away from the Liberty Stadium.

Bits and Pieces: Soldado Backed to Shine, Lerner Not Selling Villa and More

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    James Nursey of the Mirror has poured cold water on claims (subscription) that Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner is planning to sell the club.

    Nursey also wrote that Crystal Palace are planning to send midfielder Jonny Williams out on loan following the arrival of Tom Ince.

    Tottenham boss Tim Sherwood has backed misfiring striker Roberto Soldado to come good at White Hart Lane, according to the Express' Anthony Chapman.