Gossip column: World Cup, Pirlo, Ozil, Toure, Fabregas

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Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo, 35, says his team will keep England guessing with their midfield options. Daily Mirrorexternal-link

England coach Gary Neville's training plans were photographed as he left the team hotel in Brazil on Wednesday. The notes suggested England have been working on maintaining possession for their Group D opener against Italy on Saturday. Daily Mailexternal-link

Niko Kovac
Kovac replaced Igor Stimac in October last year.

Croatia coach Niko Kovac insists his team will be looking to do more than just defend against Brazil in the World Cup opener on Thursday. "Croatia never parked the bus against anyone and won't start now," he said. Guardianexternal-link

Midfielder Mesut Ozil insists he is not concerned about negativity from some Germany fans as he has the confidence of national team coach Joachim Low and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Ozil, 25, was jeered by some Germany supporters in their 2-2 draw with Cameroon on 1 June. Bild (in German)external-link

Landon Donovan believes USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann is wrong to suggest his team cannot win the World Cup. The striker, who was left out of Klinsmann's squad, said: "This will come as a surprise to nobody, but I disagree with Jurgen." ESPNexternal-link

Liverpool centre-back Kolo Toure, 33, has overcome malaria to be fit to represent the Ivory Coast at the World Cup. Daily Expressexternal-link

Local football fans were heard calling Brazilian-born Spain player Diego Costa, 25, "traitor, traitor," during the team's training session in Curitiba.Bild (in German)external-link

Manchester City's 31 year-old midfielder Yaya Toure is a major injury doubt for Ivory Coast's opening match against Japan. Mundodeportivo (in Spanish)external-link

Barcelona striker Lionel Messi, 26, says he knows what he did wrong during Argentina's lacklustre performance in 2010 World Cup and hopes to not repeat the same mistakes.Marca (in Spanish)external-link


Yaya Toure will remain at Manchester City this summer, according to his father. Last month the Ivory Coast international's agent Dimitri Seluk claimed the 31-year-old wanted to leave as the midfielder felt the club had not paid enough attention to his birthday. Goal.comexternal-link

Alvaro Morata
Morata started three league games last season.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho believes a £27m deal for Barcelona's Spain midfielder Cesc Fabregas, 27, is close to completion. Daily Mirrorexternal-link

Mourinho will allow Petr Cech, 32, to leave Stamford Bridge in order to offer Belgium international Thibaut Courtois, 22, who has spent the last three seasons on loan at Atletico Madrid, regular first-team football. Daily Expressexternal-link

Real Madrid want £24.1m for Arsenal target Alvaro Morata but may accept between £14.5m and £20m if a buy-back clause is included in the deal. The Spanish forward, 21, has a year left on his contract and is also wanted by Juventus, Inter Milan and Wolfsburg. ASexternal-link

Southampton defender Dejan Lovren, who is wanted by Liverpool, handed in a transfer request on 30 May. The Croatia centre-back, 24, told the club in an email that he wants to leave for a Champions League club this summer. Daily Mailexternal-link

Carlos Vela, 25, wants to stay at Real Sociedad, rather than return to Arsenal, according to the Spanish club's president Jokin Apperibay. Sky Sportsexternal-link

Jose Mourinho is willing to allow midfielder Ramires to leave Chelsea for Real Madrid if the Brazilian, 27, can be used as part of a deal for Luka Modric, 28. Daily Expressexternal-link

Real Sociedad's Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, 31, is set to reject a move to Arsenal in order to join Barcelona to provide competition to new signing Marc-Andre Ter Stegen. Daily Starexternal-link

Dejan Lovren
Lovren joined Southampton from Lyon last summer.

Benfica's Argentina striker Nicolas Gaitan's agent has suggested he could leave Lisbon this summer. The 26-year-old has been linked with Manchester United, Tottenham and Zenit St Petersburg. Daily Expressexternal-link

Arsenal have held talks with Gremio over Brazilian centre-back Bressan, 21, as Arsene Wenger looks to boost his defensive options. Metroexternal-link

West Ham have offered £3m for Nice defender Timothee Kolodziejczak but will move for Fiorentina's Spanish left-back Marcos Alonso, 23, who had a loan spell at Sunderland last season, if the deal for the 22-year-old Frenchman falls through. Daily Mailexternal-link

Everton manager Roberto Martinez is interested in Heerenveen's Dutch midfielder Hakim Ziyech, 21, but the Blues are unlikely to move for Barcelona forward Cristian Tello, 22. Liverpool Echoexternal-link

Martinez checked on Dynamo Kiev forward Jeremain Lens, 26 and Feyenoord defenders Bruno Martins Indi, 22, and Stefan de Vrij, 22, when he watched the Netherlands train on Wednesday. Daily Mailexternal-link

Wigan are set to offer £3m for Rapid Vienna's American striker Terrence Boyd, 23. Daily Mailexternal-link

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino is leading the chase for River Plate striker Sebastian Driussi, 18, while Flamengo's Ecuador centre-half Frickson Erazo, 26, is also on his wish list. The Sun (requires subscription)external-link

New Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal is considering a £20m move for Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, 29, after missing out on team mate Thomas Muller, 24. Daily Expressexternal-link

Atletico Madrid will demand the full £24m release clause for 29-year-old central-defender Miranda who is a target for Manchester United. TalkSportexternal-link

Porto's defensive midfielder Fernando, 26, has cut short his holiday to seal a £16m move to Premier League champions Manchester City. Daily Mirrorexternal-link

GLOBAL GOSSIP (sourced by BBC Monitoring)

Luka Modric
Mourinho was Real manager when Modric moved to Spain in 2012.

Manchester United are ready to go all out with a £56m bid for Paris St-Germain's Edinson Cavani. The Red Devils are also open to offering Wayne Rooney as an exchange offer for the 27 year-old Uruguay striker. Le Figaro (In French)external-link

Paris St-Germain's 27 year-old Brazilian midfielder Jeremy Menez, 27, out of contract with the French club, has joined AC Milan. L'Equipe (in French)external-link

Manchester United have offered a £24m four-year contract to Atletico Madrid's 29-year-old defender Miranda. Le Figaro (in French)external-link

Bayer Leverkusen have signed 18-year-old defender Tin Jedvaj on a two-year loan deal from AS Roma, with a provision for a permanent move later. Tuttosport (in Italian)external-link

Arsenal and Tottenham-target Alexander Pato has hinted at a possible return to Italy to play for Napoli. The 24-year-old forward currently plays for Brazilian side Sao Paulo FC. Corriere (in Italian)external-link


Thousands watched Argentina train in Belo Horizonte on Wednesday and Lionel Messi was confronted by a pitch invader who was a lookalike for Brazil legend Ronaldinho. O Globo (in Portuguese)external-link

France's two-piece suit for the World Cup, made with Egyptian cotton, will cost £1850. Le Figaro (in French)external-link

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