Gossip column: Mertesacker, Higuain, Janmaat, Khedira, Bony

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WORLD CUP GOSSIP

Brazil's sports minister Aldo Rebelo has called for a radical improvement in the country's youth development system as a response to the "deep scar" of losing 7-1 to Germany in the World Cup semi-final. Guardianexternal-link

Argentina's 26-year-old striker Gonzalo Higuain says his side are not intimidated by the prospect of facing Germany in Sunday's World Cup final, despite their crushing 7-1 victory over Brazil. Evening Standardexternal-link

Gonzalo Higuain
Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain does not believe his side will be intimidated by Germany

Manchester City and Brazil midfielder Fernandinho, 29, says he will be haunted forever by his country's semi-final rout by Germany. Sun (subscription required)external-link

Fare, a campaign group promoting equality in world football, has produced a report highlighting dozens of instances where Fifa has failed to punish racist and homophobic activity at the World Cup in Brazil. Daily Telegraphexternal-link

Neymar's agent has launched a scathing attack on Brazil manager Luiz Felipe Scolari following the humiliating 7-1 defeat by Germany in the World Cup semi-final, calling him "an old jerk, repulsive and conceited". Independentexternal-link

TRANSFER GOSSIP

Newcastle United are set to make a £5m bid for Feyenoord right-back Daryl Janmaat, 24, after identifying him as the man to replace Arsenal-bound Mathieu Debuchy, 28. Newcastle Journalexternal-link

Sunderland have targeted 28-year-old Austria international Christian Fuchs as a possible solution to their left-back problem. Sunderland Echoexternal-link

Daily Star backpage
The Daily Star's back page leads on Arsenal's £35m signing of Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona

Kieran Richardson will become Aston Villa's third signing of the summer after the versatile 29-year-old had his contract at Fulham cancelled by mutual consent. Birmingham Mailexternal-link

Everton boss Roberto Martinez has made a £4m bid for 21-year-old Bosnia midfielder Muhamed Besic. Daily Mirrorexternal-link

Former Arsenal striker Marouane Chamakh, 30, has agreed a two-year deal to stay at Crystal Palace, accepting a significant pay cut in the process. Guardianexternal-link

Arsenal have been given a boost in their bid to sign Germany international Sami Khedira, 27, after the midfielder rejected the offer of a new two-year contract at Real Madrid. Daily Starexternal-link

Arsenal are also in negotiations for the £8m transfer of France striker Loic Remy from newly promoted Queens Park Rangers. Independentexternal-link

Leicester City have made a club record bid of £7.5m for Brighton's 27-year-old striker Leonardo Ulloa. Daily Telegraphexternal-link

Chelsea are holding out for a fee of £8m for defender Ryan Bertrand as Liverpool and Tottenham consider a move for the 24-year-old. Daily Expressexternal-link

Liverpool have joined Tottenham in the race to sign Swansea City's 25-year-old Ivorian striker Wilfried Bony, with the Welsh club holding out for a fee of £20m. Talksportexternal-link

Lazio believe they are favourites to sign Feyenoord's 22-year-old Dutch defender Stefan De Vrij, who has emerged as a transfer target for Manchester United. Daily Expressexternal-link

West Ham are facing competition from AC Milan and Sevilla for 25-year-old Ecuador striker Enner Valencia, who is valued at £12m by Mexican side Pachuca. Times (subscription required)external-link

Southampton's bid to sign striker Graziano Pelle has stalled after Saints refused to meet Feyenoord's £9.5m asking price for the 28-year-old Italian. Daily Starexternal-link

OTHER GOSSIP

West Brom boss Alan Irvine has held face-to-face talks with want-away duo George Thorne, 21, and Craig Dawson, 24, to convince both they are in his Premier League plans. Express & Starexternal-link

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is planning to limit Steven Gerrard's first-team appearances next season in a bid to keep the 34-year-old captain fit until the end of the campaign.Daily Mailexternal-link

Liverpool's Brendan Rodgers and Steven Gerrard
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard made his Premier League debut in November 1998

Leeds United began life under new manager Dave Hockaday with a resounding 16-0 win over Italian minnows FC Gherdeina. Yorkshire Evening Postexternal-link

Aston Villa right-back Alan Hutton, 29, wants talks with Paul Lambert after the Villa boss blocked his move to West Brom. Daily Mirrorexternal-link

Villa are also set to offer defender Ron Vlaar, 29, a bumper new contract to head off interest in the Netherlands international. Daily Starexternal-link

Belgium defender Jan Vertonghen, 27, could quit Tottenham this summer according to his agent Mustapha Nakhli. Daily Mirrorexternal-link

Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta, 32, has no intention of leaving Arsenal this summer according to his agent Inaki Ibanez.Timesexternal-link

France international Antoine Griezmann, 23, has rejected a new contract with Real Sociedad in a bit to force a move to the Premier League. Talksportexternal-link

BEST OF SOCIAL MEDIA

Defender Per Mertesacker has posted a picture on Facebookexternal-link of himself as a child in 1990 wearing a West Germany shirt reminiscing about their World Cup victory over Argentina that year.

Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini has tweeted a picture of himselfexternal-link with a new haircut. The Belgium international has got rid of his afro in favour of a shorter style.

Per Mertesacker wearing a 1990 Germany shirt

The nominations for the Golden Ball award at this year's World Cup will be announced on Friday through the Twitter account of the official World Cup football.external-link

United States and Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard tweeted a photo of himselfexternal-link with former United States international Alexi Lalas and media personalities at a Fan Fest in New York.

Barcelona defender Dani Alves has posted a goodbye messageexternal-link to Chile winger Alexis Sanchez, who has left the Nou Camp for Arsenal, on Facebook.

AND FINALLY

Germany and Bayern Munich striker Thomas Muller may well be a success on the pitch with five goals in six games at this year's World Cup, but a video posted on Twitter has revealed the 24-year-old's dancing skills are not quite of the same standard. Metroexternal-link

Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic completed just one day of pre-season training with the thick beard he had grown during his time off before shaving it off. Daily Mailexternal-link

Birmingham City's players have been preparing for the start of the season with a spot of laser clay shooting. Birmingham Mailexternal-link

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