Thursday's gossip column
Last updated on .From the section Football
Manchester United are ready to match Manchester City's bid for Arsenal captain Robin van Persie. The 28-year-old striker's contract at the Emirates Stadium expires at the end of next season.
Juventus have curtailed their interest in Van Persie, preferring to avoid a bidding war with Manchester City and concentrate their efforts on luring Napoli forward Edison Cavani.
Manchester City are preparing to kick-off their summer spending spree by activating the £28.7m release clause in the contract of 27-year-old Athletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente.
And Roberto Mancini's Premier League champions have also launched a bid for £25m-rated AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, with the club reportedly ready to pay £300,000 a week to the 30-year-old Sweden international.
Barcelona will take advantage of Kenny Dalglish's sacking as Liverpool boss by tabling a summer bid for the Reds' Uruguay striker Luis Suarez.
Chelsea and Everton target Oscar Cardozo has been told he can leave Benfica. The 28-year-old striker could also attract interest from CSKA Moscow and Rubin Kazan.
Everton have been urged by their former Rangers striker Nikica Jelavic to raid the ailing Scottish giants for Scotland international Steven Naismith. The 25-year-old, currently recovering a cruciate ligament injury, could be available for just £2m.
Montpellier and Morocco playmaker Younes Belhanda, 22, has dampened speculation linking him with Arsenal and Liverpool by admitting he wants to stay with the French league leaders next season.
Borussia Dortmund playmaker Shinji Kagawa admits he has spoken with Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson. "He had some nice things to say to me," said the 23-year-old Japan international.
Meanwhile, United have indicated they will listen to offers for Portugal winger Nani if talks on a new contract stall. The 25-year-old has 18 months left on his deal and is being offered £130,000 a week to stay but if he holds out for more, the Old Trafford club will look to sell him for £30m.
Fulham are winning the race for Huddersfield and Scotland striker Jordan Rhodes, sealing a £3.5m deal for the 22-year-old ahead of Norwich, Aston Villa and West Ham.
Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor says his first choice for next season would be to continue playing at Tottenham, where he has been on loan this season. The 28-year-old also has offers from the United States and Russia.
Full story: London Evening Standard
Manchester United are expected to confirm the end of Michael Owen's three-year stay at Old Trafford on Thursday. The former England forward, 32, is out of contract next month.
Former Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas, Borussia Dortmund boss Juergen Klopp and Marseille's Didier Deschamps are among the candidates to replace Kenny Dalglish as Liverpool manager.
In fact, Liverpool's American owners had already made contact with Andre Villas-Boas in the past two weeks, in an attempt to establish his interest in taking over at Anfield.
But Swansea boss Brendan Rodgers is apparently the man the Americans want for the Anfield hot-seat, with Villas-Boas, Wigan's Roberto Martinez and Newcastle boss Alan Pardew also in the frame.
Meanwhile, former England manager Graham Taylor says he doesn't think John Henry and Tom Werner ever really wanted Dalglish in the first place but were swayed by the club's fans.
Manchester City's Carlos Tevez has said he will not apologise to Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson for the 'RIP Fergie' poster he brandished at the new champions' title parade, because Ferguson never apologises for his own comments. "It seems Ferguson is the president of England," says the Argentine.
Defender Rio Ferdinand holds his Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson partly responsible for his omission from England's Euros squad, after the Scot questioned whether the 33-year-old defender could stand up to the rigours of an international tournament.
But Ferdinand is also convinced his omission is a result of the John Terry race row involving his brother Anton Ferdinand, and that he is a victim of the allegations against the former captain.
Full story: the Times (subscription required)
Germany and Bayern Munich captain Philipp Lahm has said he was astonished by Chelsea counterpart John Terry's rush of blood in getting himself sent off and suspended for Saturday's Champions League final and that he would not have let his own side down in that way.
Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy has thanked England boss Roy Hodgson for allowing him the weekend off to get married when England play their final Euro 2012 warm-up game against Belgium on 2 June. The uncapped keeper had offered to postpone his wedding.