POOL AND ARSENAL IN FOR DOWNING
Hmm. Is he really deserving of such a fuss? Stewart Downing's admission that he won't be committing to a new contract at Aston Villa has made him the focus of attention for the gossipers and prompted renewed speculation that he could be joining either Liverpool or Arsenal.
We won't lie. We're doubtful.
Liverpool, with the need to serve Andy Carroll, we can understand. But Arsenal? Hmm.
Anyway, The Sun is now reckoning that Pool 'are set to make a £12million swoop' for the midfielder and 'Dalglish is also closing in on Sunderland midfielder Lee Cattermole.'
Wowsers, that's an unexpected one.
'Dalglish is also ready to offer £12m for Cattermole, 23, who is believed to have an escape clause in his Sunderland contract.
'The Anfield chief hopes to wrap up both deals by the end of next month - and is also close to signing France midfielder Sylvain Marveaux on a free from Rennes.'
In other news, 'David Ngog, 22, has been told he can find himself another club - although Liverpool will want £8m for him.'
ARSENAL STILL WAITING ON NASRI
As for Arsenal, the extent of their supposed interest in Downing is likely to be dependent on whether or not Samir Nasri extends his stay at the Emirates.
Quite how Arsenal managed to find themselves in this mess is a debate for another day, but The Mail is reporting that 'Nasri has been offered a five-year deal in the region of £90,000-per-week - but is stalling on signing.
'Gunners sources insist the club are confident the France forward will extend his stay at the Emirates. But Wenger does not want the contract stand-off to drag on much longer so that he has enough time to sign a replacement, namely Downing.
'And the Frenchman has instructed the Gunners hierarchy to get a definitive answer'.
SPURS AND ARSENAL TO BATTLE FOR FALCAO?
Wait for it, but there's a cracking gag in The Guardian's report detailing the claim of Radamel Falcao's agent that 'Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal are willing to meet a £25.9m release clause in the Porto striker's contract.'
To quote a little from both:
'Porto are negotiating a new deal with the 25-year-old but Spurs and Arsenal are thought to be on the lookout for strikers this summer and Claudio Mossi, an agent from the Sivori & Asociados group that represents Falcao, said the two north London sides were interested.
'"England are crazy about Falcao," Mossi told the website Maisfutebol. "Among the leading candidates are Arsenal and Tottenham. They are willing to hit the €30m [£25.9m] clause. The figure is not an extraordinary value for them."'
Ha ha ha. Not extraordinary? 25m? Arsenal?
TEVEZ REJECTS JUVE
A bit of a non-story in the Mail as they report that Carlos Tevez has rejected overtures from Juventus.
So far, so good.
But it's this bit that we are struggling to accept:
'It's the biggest indication yet that he will stay at Manchester City...Tevez now appears likely to stay at City and captain their Champions League challenge next season.'
No, no, no. Let's not get a mile ahead of ourselves. He's rejected Juventus, a club barely anyone even thought he might join. It's only if and when the offers come in from Spain that things will truly become revealing.
PARKER FOR VILLA IT SAYS HERE
Another non-story is in The Sun as they report that 'Aston Villa have joined the race to sign Scott Parker.'
Hmm. We're still listening, but...
'The midfielder is sure to leave relegated West Ham this summer with Tottenham and Liverpool are leading the chase. But ambitious Villa are ready to fight for the £10million-rated ace.'
Oh ok, we'll say it. If it's true that Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal are also interested in signing Parker, we'll eat our literal hat if he joins Villa.
BENITEZ TO RETURN TO MADRID?
The Times, which prides itself on knowing all things Liverpool, reckons that Rafa Benitez is contemplating uprooting from Merseyside to return to Madrid as Atletico's new manager.
The paper reports that Benitez 'was contacted by Atlético officials yesterday and made an offer described as "extremely attractive".
'Sources close to Benítez say he is determined not to rush into a decision and will proceed with plans to leave on a ten-day family holiday this morning. It is understood Benítez has told Atlético that he will consider the offer while on holiday and notify the club of his decision when he returns.'
Obviously, when you've been out of work for six months, the end of the football season is just the time for a holiday.
ADAM HINTS OPENLY AT BLACKPOOL EXIT
Charlie Adam has cast doubt over his future at Blackpool by expressing a desire to remain in the Barclays Premier League next season.
The Seasiders lost their fight against the drop when defeat to Manchester United sealed their relegation from the top flight on the final day of the campaign.
Boss Ian Holloway is keen to retain the services of the midfielder, with the club this week confirming they have activated an option for a further 12 months on his contract.
Adam was linked with Liverpool and Tottenham in January and admits he is desperate to play at the highest level possible, while also acknowledging the major role Blackpool has played in his career.
He said: "My future is that I want to play in the Premier League. I want to play at the top and hopefully the opportunity comes.
"At the end of the day, my future will get sorted one way or another. It's not me who makes that decision.
"The club have been fantastic with me and since I went there, since day one, I've thoroughly enjoyed it.