Gossip column: Benzema, Godin, Martinez, Sneijder, Sterling, Bent

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TRANSFER GOSSIP

Liverpool are prepared to make a £50m bid for Real Madrid's French forward Karim Benzema, 26, in the January transfer window. (Daily Express)

Manchester United will try to sign Valencia defender Nicolas Otamendi, 26, if they fail to capture their top target, Borussia Dortmund's 26-year-old centre-half Mats Hummels. (Daily Express)

Daily Mirror back page
Daily Mirror back page

Tottenham and Liverpool are keen to sign Porto's 28-year-old forward Jackson Martinez in January. (Metro)

The Reds are also interested in Aston Villa midfielder Fabian Delph and see the 25-year-old as a long-term replacement for Steven Gerrard, 34. (Daily Mirror)

Atletico Madrid centre-half Diego Godin, 28, a transfer target for Chelsea, dismisses a move to the Premier League and says he wants to stay at the La Liga champions. (Daily Star)

Manchester United are prepared to spend more than £30m on new players in January to strengthen their defence and midfield. (Manchester Evening News)

Cardiff City boss Russell Slade is expecting a busy transfer window at the Championship club. "There will be players coming in - and a number going out," says Slade. (Wales Online)

Southampton's Dutch manager Ronald Koeman says his side will not bid for Netherlands and Galatasaray midfielder Wesley Sneijder, 30, as they would not be able to afford his wages. (FourFourTwo)

Wolves are set to sign Iceland attacking midfielder Gudmundur Thorarinsson, 22, from Norwegian top-flight side Sarpsborg 08. (Birmingham Mail)

French side Lille want to sign Sunderland striker Jozy Altidore, 25, on a loan deal in January, but the Black Cats are hoping for a permanent move. (Sunderland Echo)

West Ham striker Carlton Cole, 31, wants to stay with the Hammers, despite starting only one Premier League game since August. (London Evening Standard)

OTHER GOSSIP

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has urged midfielder Raheem Sterling, 20, to sign an extended, improved contract. (Daily Telegraph)

The Sun back page
The Sun back page

Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini, 27, believes a rejuvenated side under Louis van Gaal could yet still win the Premier League this season, with a top-four finish a minimum requirement. (The Times, subscription required)

Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard has offered his support to Merseyside rival and Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, 26, as he faces the possibility of a lengthy spell on the sidelines. (Daily Express)

West Ham striker Diafra Sakho, 24, wants an improved contract, despite signing a four-year deal when he joined the Hammers in the summer. (Daily Mail)

Former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez, who has been linked with a move back to his former club, says he remains committed to current club Napoli, and has turned down two job offers recently. (Talksport)

Stoke boss Mark Hughes wants striker Peter Crouch to sign a new contract. The 33-year-old's current deal expires at the end of the season.(Daily Mirror)

Three Tottenham fans who ran on to the pitch wearing T-shirts with a sponsor's name on and caused a Europa League game to be suspended for 10 minutes have been banned from attending football matches until 2018. (Guardian)

Aston Villa striker Darren Bent, 30, who is on loan at Championship club Brighton, has had £150,000 worth of supercars stolen from his Staffordshire home. The burglars took a Range Rover and an Audi RS6. (Birmingham Mail)

Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard, 35, says Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers will ruin the career of Reds keeper Simon Mignolet, 26. (Sun, subscription required)

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero is expected to return to action a month ahead of schedule after suffering a knee injury earlier this month. The 26-year-old was expected to be out for two months, but could be back in early January.(Sun, subscription required)

Southampton striker Jay Rodriguez
Jay Rodriguez has been out of action with a knee ligament injury since April

Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen, 22, can become as good as Spurs legends Paul Gascoigne and Glenn Hoddle, says defender Jan Vertonghen. (London Evening Standard)

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert says he remains a close friend of Roy Keane, despite the Irishman leaving his role as assistant manager in November. (Times, subscription required)

Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil, 26, has criticised his team-mates for conceding "unnecessary goals". (Daily Star)

Meanwhile, Arsenal have been given an early Christmas present with the news that forward Theo Walcott, 25, is in line for a return to action against Liverpool on Sunday after returning to training following a long-term groin injury. (Daily Mail)

Southampton striker Jay Rodriguez, 25, has suffered an injury setback and will not make his long-awaited return to action until February. (Daily Mirror)

BEST OF SOCIAL MEDIA

Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had a mixed reception from children when he and his team-mates visited them in hospital. The England international wrote on Instagram: "Nice to see some of the kids at the Royal Free Hospital today to give them some Christmas presents. Best moment of the day was when we surprised one of them and the first thing they said with a straight face was, 'I don't even like Arsenal. Can we get some Liverpool players?'"

Luke Shaw
Manchester United left-back Luke Shaw injured his ankle against Arsenal in November

Injured Manchester United defender Luke Shaw wrote on Twitter: "Working hard on my recovery everyday, I will be back stronger. Can't wait to get on the pitch again, thank you everyone for your support."

Former Newcastle goalkeeper Steve Harper backs Jak Alnwick to perform well against Sunderland after making mistakes during his side's 4-0 League Cup defeat at Tottenham on Wednesday. Harper wrote on Twitter: "Rather than criticism, Jak Alnwick needs a proper Geordie reception when he runs out on Sunday lunchtime to give him a lift before the game. Get behind the young lad by singing his name to pick him up and watch him grow in response to it. #toonarmy."

AND FINALLY...

A 12-year-old leukaemia patient, who lost her hair during treatment, got Manchester United players Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Juan Mata, and assistant manager Ryan Giggs, to sign the top of her head. (Daily Mirror)

Celtic striker and former Wolves player Leigh Griffiths has offered to buy a five-year-old boy Christmas gifts after his home was burgled. (Scotsman)

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