Friday's gossip column

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TRANSFER GOSSIP

Fiorentina's Stevan Jovetic, 23, has replaced 31-year-old David Villa of Barcelona as the striker at the top of Arsenal's summer transfer target-list.

Full story: Daily Mirror

Contrary to previous reports Frank Lampard, 34, has not been approached by Chelsea about a new deal and no negotiations have been scheduled.

Full story: the Sun

Lampard has offers from around the world for when his deal expires this summer, and the midfielder currently favours a switch to Premier League leaders Manchester United.

Full story: Daily Star

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has admitted that Spurs must qualify for the Champions League in order to keep winger Gareth Bale, 23, from the clutches of other clubs, with Real Madrid preparing an offer for the player in the summer.

Full story: the Guardian

Stevan Jovetic
Jovetic is nicknamed Jo-Jo by Fiorentina supporters, and has scored nine Serie A goals this season

Brazil forward Neymar, 21, will not be joining Manchester City, his club Santos have said.

Full story: Daily Mail

West Brom are expecting several bids to be made for striker Peter Odemwingie, 31, and out-of-favour winger Jerome Thomas, 29, by Football League clubs now the loan transfer window has opened.

Full story: Birmingham Mail

Aston Villa top scorer Christian Benteke, 22, plans to leave the relegation-threatened club at the end of the season. Arsenal are believed to be favourites to buy him, although Chelsea and Manchester City are also interested.

Full story: Daily Star

Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland, 19, may go out on loan for all of next season after the club said it would take an enormous offer to convince them to sell current keeper Asmir Begovic. Both Manchester United and Manchester City have been linked with the 25-year-old Bosnian international.

Full story: Daily Mirror

Fulham want to turn 29-year-old full-back Sascha Riether's loan spell at the club from Cologne into a permanent deal.

Full story: Daily Express

OTHER GOSSIP

Patrick Vieira, 36, is in line for a surprise return to Arsenal after manager Arsene Wenger spoke to him out about the job of replacing Liam Brady as head of youth development.

Full story: Daily Mail

Nottingham Forest chairman Fawaz Al Hasawi says that his decision to name Billy Davies, 48, as the club's fourth manager in seven months does not mean he is an interfering owner.

Full story: The Times (subscription required)

Patrick Vieira
Vieira won three Premier League titles and four FA Cups during nine years with Arsenal

Newcastle intend to continue concentrating on foreign markets to buy footballers as they insist British players are too overpriced.

Full story: Newcastle Evening Chronicle

Roy Hodgson has closed the door on a return to the England team for 34-year-old Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand, in spite of the continuing problems the side are experiencing in central defence, including Gary Cahill's error against Brazil.

Full story: The Independent

Chelsea striker Demba Ba, 27, returned to training on Thursday wearing a face mask to protect the broken nose he suffered against former club Newcastle United last weekend.

Full story: Daily Mail

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere, 21, has taken a swipe at former England manager Fabio Capello, claiming the atmosphere has improved under Roy Hodgson and the national team are now reaping the benefits.

Full story: The Independent

AND FINALLY

Mario Balotelli, 22, has appeared to make peace with AC Milan's Paolo Berlusconi after the vice-president of his new team was accused of making racist remarks about the former Manchester City striker.

Full story: Gazzetta dello Sport [in Italian]

Tottenham have confirmed they will help former player Paul Gascoigne, 45, in his latest bid to seek rehabilitation for his problems.

Full story: London Evening Standard

Liverpool's 35-year-old defender Jamie Carragher, who has announced he is retiring at the end of the season, is weighing up several offers from television companies keen to see the knowledgeable player perform a similar role to that played by former Manchester United full-back Gary Neville at Sky.

Full story: Daily Mirror

Former Everton winger Andy van der Meyde, 33, warned fellow Dutchman Royston Drenthe, 25, not to move to the club in 2011 as there are too many temptations for footballers on Merseyside in his opinion.

Full story: Liverpool Echo

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