Gossip column: Bale, Lukaku, Messi, Kovacic, De Bruyne

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TRANSFER GOSSIP

Daily Star
Thursday's Daily Star back page

Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale, 25, has been told to stay at the European champions by Wales manager Chris Coleman. (Sun - subscription required)

Everton striker Romelu Lukaku could be the subject of a £33m bid from Wolfsburg, who missed out on the 21-year-old Belgian in the summer. (Daily Mirror)

Southampton want Real Madrid's Norwegian midfielder Martin Odegaard, 16, on loan next season. (Sun - subscription required)

Arsenal have been given encouragement in their efforts to sign 20-year-old midfielder Mateo Kovacic, with Inter Milan reportedly ready to sell the Croatia international in the summer. (Metro)

Manchester City have asked Wolfsburg about the availability of former Chelsea midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, 23. (London Evening Standard)

Liverpool defender Glen Johnson, 30, whose contract expires in the summer, is reportedly interested in joining fellow former England full-back Ashley Cole at Italian side Roma. (Daily Mirror)

OTHER GOSSIP

Daily Telegraph
Thursday's Daily Telegraph sports supplement

Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker, 30, says Arsenal are a long way from being good enough to win the Champions League, after losing in the last 16 for the fifth season in a row. (Times - subscription required)

Uefa president Michel Platini has responded to Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore suggesting European football's governing body had let it down by agreeing to a winter World Cup. Platini said: "It's not only the Premier League in the world. There are many leagues, many players, many clubs." (Daily Telegraph)

Newcastle manager John Carver says his injury-hit squad is "down to the bare bones". (Newcastle Chronicle)

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho will have access to more than £40m in extra Financial Fair Play cash this summer. (Daily Telegraph)

Liverpool have been handed a fitness boost after midfielder Lucas Leiva, 28, returned to full training. (Talksport)

Thomas Vermaelen of Barcelona
Thomas Vermaelen is yet to make his Barcelona debut

Former Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen, 29, could make his long-awaited Barcelona debut next month, nine months after the injury-hampered Belgium international's £15m transfer from the Gunners. (London Evening Standard)

Hull owner Assem Allam has reiterated his intention to sell the club if they are not permitted to change their name to Hull Tigers. (Hull Daily Mail)

Thierry Henry has told Sky Sports that former Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi has an ego and says it is only natural for someone so talented to know he is that good. (Daily Mail)

Forward Kevin Mirallas, 27, could be sidelined until after the international break with an injury which is worse than Everton first feared. (Liverpool Echo)

Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana, 26, says team-mate Jordan Henderson, 24, has what it takes to replace Steven Gerrard as the Reds' captain. (Talksport)

The wife of new Sunderland manager Dick Advocaat does not like her husband working abroad, a Dutch journalist has claimed. (Sunderland Echo)

Football legend Pele will be a guest at Anfield on Sunday to watch Liverpool take on Manchester United in the Premier League.(Liverpool Echo)

BEST OF SOCIAL MEDIA

Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli, 24, has posted a video message, responding to critics who do not know him and telling them to "shut up".

Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker was suitably impressed during Barcelona's win over Manchester City and tweeted: "Messi is indisputably the greatest player ever to don a pair of football boots. Don't even attempt to argue the point."

Former England defender Rio Ferdinand highlighted the performance of Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart in keeping the score down to 1-0, tweeting: "Joe Hart has stopped a mauling here. Top keeping."

Newcastle's Jonas Gutierrez, 31, who recently overcame testicular cancer, asks his Twitter followers to decide whether he looks better with short or long hair: "Old look or current look? I miss my long hair."

The different styles of Jonas Gutierrez
The different hairstyles of Jonas Gutierrez

AND FINALLY....

Phil Bardsley's 'knockout blow' on Wayne Rooney has made its way into WWE, with one commentator likening wrestler Nikki Bella's finishing move to the Sunderland midfielder's punch. (Metro)

Burnley striker Danny Ings, 22, has offered to help four-year-old Harlee-Jae Procter, who has a life-threatening illness, to complete her bucket list that includes being a cowgirl, riding an elephant and eating breakfast with Barney the Dinosaur. (Manchester Evening News)

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