Thursday's gossip column

Manchester United have approached Liverpool over 20-year-old England forward Raheem Sterling, but the Anfield club immediately rejected the inquiry. (Telegraph)

United asked Liverpool for an asking price for Sterling, but were told further communication would not be welcomed. (Times - subscription required)

Real Madrid's Wales forward Gareth Bale, 25, is to stay at the La Liga club, bringing an end to Manchester United's hope of a swap deal involving Spain goalkeeper David De Gea, 24. (Mirror)

Bale was told he remains part of the Real's long-term plans in a meeting with the club's directors. (Sun - subscription required)

Meanwhile, former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has emerged as a surprise candidate to replace Italian Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid.(Daily Mail)

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is considering a bid for Aston Villa's Belgium striker Christian Benteke, 24, who is valued at £30m. (Daily Mirror)

Borussia Dortmund's 26-year-old Germany defender Mats Hummels - a long-term target for Manchester United - has decided against a move to England. (Bild - in German)

Manchester City and Chelsea may move for Barcelona midfielder Alex Song this summer. The 27-year-old Ivory Coast international has been on loan at West Ham this season. (Mail)

City are also preparing an approach for West Brom's 21-year-old England Under-21 striker Saido Berahino. (Daily Star)

Meanwhile, Yaya Toure, 32, looks to be heading out of the Etihad Stadium, with Italian side Inter Milan closing in on a deal for the Ivory Coast midfielder. (The Times - subscription required)

Liverpool will announce winger Jordan Ibe, 19, has signed a new five-year contract at the club worth £35,000 a week. (Sun - subscription required)

England Under-21 manager Gareth Southgate made a last-minute U-turn and left Manchester United defender Luke Shaw, 19, out of his squad for this summer's European Championship. (Guardian)

And England boss Roy Hodgson has held talks with United boss Louis van Gaal about Shaw's difficult first season at Old Trafford. (Mail)

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino wants to keep 23-year-old record signing Erik Lamela but will let several others go, including striker Roberto Soldado, 29. (Mirror)

Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola will assess his chances of taking over at Manchester United before making a decision about Manchester City. The Spaniard is the number one choice to take charge at the Etihad if Manuel Pellegrini leaves. (Manchester Evening News)

Newcastle manager John Carver says he is only sleeping four hours a night due to the pressure of keeping the club in the Premier League. (Guardian)

Steve McClaren's position as Derby manager is in doubt, with the former England boss to meet with the club's chief executive Sam Rush on Thursday. (Mail)

Tottenham forward Emmanuel Adebayor, 31, has launched another attack on his family in a series of posts on Facebook, including a claim that his brother held a knife to his throat in an attempt to gain money. (Telegraph)

Best of social media

Phil Neville enjoyed his day golfing with former Manchester United team-mate Paul Scholes, world number one Rory McIlroy and One Direction singer Niall Horan. "Great day at the BMW pro am with these guys!" he posted on Instagram.

Karim Benzema was clearly in a philosophical mood on Wednesday. The Real Madrid forward posted a photo of himself pointing to an old passport photo with this quote from French writer Anatole France: "Without lies, truth would perish from boredom and despair." Quite.

Tottenham's 21-year-old striker Harry Kane celebrated his call-up to the England Under 21 squad, tweeting:"It's always an honour to represent my country! Looking forward to the U21 Euros! It will be a great experience for our team!"

Everton left-back Luke Garbutt, 21, was also called up to Gareth Southgate's squad and tweeted: "Delighted to be named in the squad for the European Championship. Can't wait to get started!"

And finally

Do you know where Steve Finnan is? Organisers of an event celebrating the 10th anniversary of Liverpool's 2005 Champions League win in Istanbul have issued a plea after failing to track the former Reds right-back down. (Liverpool Echo)

German police are investigating a tackle made on Borussia Dortmund's 25-year-old forward Marco Reus after deciding it constituted 'grievous bodily harm'. (Metro)

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