Friday's gossip column

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Jeff Powell in the Daily Mail: "David Beckham's triumph has not been to transcend the game - as has been said so glibly so often - but to transform a reasonable amount of natural-born talent into a mother lode of wealth and fame."

David Beckham

Chris Bascombe in the Daily Telegraph: "David Beckham will not be remembered as the greatest English footballer of all time, but he may well be this country's greatest football ambassador. The World Cup Willie of his age."

Matt Hughes in the Times (subscription required): "Strip away the celebrity circus that surrounded him and Beckham should be regarded as one of the best footballers this island has produced in the Premier League era, and certainly the most significant."

Kevin Garside in the Independent: "Thursday's announcement is all a bit silly. It is the Beckham construction to which we are bidding farewell. We said goodbye to the footballer a long time ago."

Martin Lipman in the Mirror: "He was an icon, a fashion and trend-setter, a man who transcended the game, who was more than just a footballer. Yet it was as a footballer, with the ball at his feet, revelling in the sheer joy of playing, that David Beckham was truly fulfilled."

Sid Lowe in the Guardian: "The England player is remembered fondly in Spain... He always put his foot in, made tackles and chased back. There was none of the ego the fans had expected during his time at Real Madrid."


American daily USA Today has praise for Beckham's time at LA Galaxy: "When Beckham moved to LA, the European soccer establishment rolled its eyes, but he made a success of it, silencing the Doubting Thomases."

David Beckham

Italian daily La Repubblica says: "Football is losing its last superstar. Perhaps the only one, because there are plenty of champions, but only one David Beckham. Ciao, Becks. Or rather, see you soon, outside the stadium, where he will continue to be the richest footballer - oops, ex-footballer - in the world."

Germany's top sports paper Kicker celebrates Beckham's career with a picture gallery as its top story. "Divine crosser of the ball, spiceboy, advertising icon, record-breaking player, Olympic ambassador - during his glamorous career, Beckham took on more than one role."

German tabloid Bild says Beckham's retirement marks the end of a "gigantic career", adding: "A worthy end for a player who, because of his glamorous lifestyle and his frequent appearances in advertising, was often mocked as a footballing fashion model.

Russian website Sovetski Sport names "five reasons why Beckham is the most famous footballer in the universe", including his working-class origins, the fact that he "learnt to play football pretty well", and that he "married Victoria Beckham".


Arsenal are plotting a summer move for unsettled Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney, 27, who has asked to leave the Premier League champions.

Full story: Daily Mail

David Villa
Tottenham are closing on a deal to bring Barcelona striker David Villa to White Hart Lane

Tottenham are confident winger Gareth Bale, 23, will commit his future to the club next month by signing a new deal that will pay him £170,000 a week.

Full story: Daily Mirror

Outgoing interim Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez says Jose Mourinho will have £100m to spend this summer when he returns to Stamford Bridge.

Full story: the Sun

Both Tottenham and Chelsea have made approaches for Southampton's 17-year-old defender Luke Shaw. The England Under-21 left-back has emerged as one of the Premier League's brightest talents.

Full story: The Times [subscription needed]

Spurs are close to completing a deal for Barcelona striker David Villa, 31.

Full story: talkSPORT

West Ham have asked Chelsea if they can take £20m-rated Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku, 20, on loan again next season.

Full story: Daily Mail

Manchester United face competition from Bayer Leverkusen as they target a move for £25m-rated Benfica midfielder Nicolas Gaitan, 25.

Benfica's Nicolas Gaitan
Benfica's Nicolas Gaitan is thought to have been targeted by Manchester United

Full story: Daily Express

Manchester City have moved for Spain and Seville winger Jesus Navas, 27, as they rebuild ahead of next season.

Full story: The Times [subscription needed]

Stoke are monitoring Granada left-back Guilherme Siqueira, 27, as Tony Pulis looks to bolster his defence.

Full story: talkSPORT

Arsenal, Tottenham and Fulham are tracking Watford striker Matej Vydra, 21, who has yet to decide whether to return to parent club Udinese, stay at Watford or move elsewhere.

Full story: Daily Express

West Brom boss Steve Clarke is offering Wigan striker Franco Di Santo, 24, a chance to stay in the Premier League.

Full story: Daily Mirror

Christian Benteke's agent has hinted the Belgian striker, 22, expects a bumper pay day for saving Aston Villa from relegation, or he will look to move elsewhere.

Full story: Metro

Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon, 26, is a transfer target for Inter Milan.

Full story: Daily Mirror

Newly-promoted Hull City want West Bromwich Albion forward Peter Odemwingie, 31, to spearhead their Premier League attack.

Full story: Daily Telegraph

GLOBAL GOSSIP (sourced by BBC monitoring)

Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao, 27, has publicly denied rumours of a move to recently promoted French side Monaco. The Colombian says Real Madrid are his current "favourites" but emphasised he has three years left on his contract.

Full story: AS (in Spanish)

Barcelona sporting director Raul Sanllehi has offered Brazilian side Santos around £23m for striker 21-year-old forward Neymar.

Full story: Brazilian paper O Estado (in Portuguese)

Midfielder Massimo Ambrosini, 35, says he will discuss his future with AC Milan before considering offers from other teams, said to include West Ham.

Full story: La Stampa (in Italian)

Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard's brother Thorgan, 20, has been selected in the Belgian national team for the first time.

Full story: L'Equipe (in French)


Sir Alex Ferguson slept in and skipped work for the first time as Manchester United boss - after the emotion of his retirement left him shattered.

Landon Donovan
Landon Donovan says he tried to lure Frank Lampard to LA Galaxy

Full story: Daily Mirror

Fulham expect Martin Jol to remain in charge next season despite recent poor form and speculation linking Brighton's Gus Poyet with the managerial position at Craven Cottage.

Full story: London's Evening Standard

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, whose contract expires at the end of next season, says he is not worried about speculation surrounding his future.

Full story: London's Evening Standard

LA Galaxy forward Landon Donovan, 31, says he spoke to midfielder Frank Lampard, 34, before he signed his one-year contract extension in the hopes of convincing him to leave Chelsea for MLS.

Full story:

Newcastle stalwart Steve Harper, 38, who will leave the club this summer after 20 years, reveals a private battle with depression almost ruined his career.

Full story: The Independent


After years of fake accounts and false alarms, AC Milan have confirmed that @FinallyMario is indeed the handle of Italian striker Mario Balotelli.

Full story: Metro

West Ham enjoyed a day on the water as a team-building exercise at Dorney Lake, which was in part organised by Olympic rower Mark Hunter, but a few of the players saw a bit more of the lake than they perhaps anticipated.

Full story: Daily Mail

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