Gossip column: Messi, Ranieri, Pochettino, Morata

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Manchester City believe incoming manager Pep Guardiola will give them the edge in their bid to lure Lionel Messi, 28, from Barcelona. (Daily Mail)external-link

Leicester have told manager Claudio Ranieri, 64, they will double his salary to £3m a year at the end of the season. (Mirror)external-link

Euro 2016 officials are considering playing matches behind closed doors if the terrorism threat in France rises over the next three months. (Guardian)external-link

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino, 44, has a £10m buyout clause in his contract. (Sun)external-link

Arsenal are confident of closing a £33.7m deal for Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Granit Xhaka after manager Arsene Wenger spoke to the 23-year-old's father. (Sun)external-link

Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross, 28, claims striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic ended his England career before it had started. Ibrahimovic scored four goals for Sweden in Shawcross's one international appearance. (Telegraph)external-link

West Ham will pursue Liverpool and Belgium striker Christian Benteke, 25, in the summer.(Mirror)external-link


Liverpool want Roma attacking midfielder Leandro Paredes, 21, who is currently on loan at Empoli.(Gazzetta Dello Sport, via Express) external-link

Arsenal are set to sign Juventus striker Alvaro Morata for £40m - but from Real Madrid, who plan to use a buy-back clause to re-sign the 23-year-old for £24m before selling him to the Gunners. (AS)external-link

Zenit St Petersburg midfielder Axel Witsel, 27, is hoping to leave in the summer transfer window with Tottenham among a number of clubs keen to sign the Belgian. (La Derniere Heure, via Standard)external-link

Liverpool legend John Barnes believes Raheem Sterling, 21, made a big mistake leaving Anfield last summer to join Manchester City. (Omnisport, via Liverpool Echo)external-link

Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel, 28, will consider a move to the Chinese Super League in the summer. (Standard)external-link

Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 22, is a transfer target for Southampton, five years after he left the Saints for the Gunners. (Mirror)external-link

Manchester City have been urged to rethink their ticket pricing structure by fans after anger over the cost of Champions League tickets for the game against Paris St-Germain. (Manchester Evening News)external-link

Manchester United are close to winning the race for 16-year-old Feyenoord striker Tahith Chong. (Manchester Evening News)external-link

Best of social media

How cool would a photo look of you swimming with dolphins? Very cool. And that's what Arsenal defender Carl Jenkinson thought when he asked for someone to capture the moment. He tweeted:external-link"Act cool for the photo they said..."

Carl Jenkinson

Real Madrid's Wales international Gareth Bale and his partner Emma Rhys Jones announced the arrival of their second daughter Nava Valentina on Twitter.external-link

Nava Valentina and daughter
Brazil are preparing for World Cup qualifiers against Uruguay and Paraguay and Neymar couldn't resist the chance to snap a selfie with his team-mates.
Aaron Ramsey
Who will be the best player? Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey and One Direction's Niall Horan have joined up with Justin Rose for the BMW PGA Championship Pro-Am in May.

And finally

TV stars Ant and Dec mocked their fellow Geordie Alan Shearer as they accepted a Royal Television Society award for best entertainment performance on Tuesday night. Anthony McPartlin yelled: "Shearer, this is what it's like to win" at the former England and Newcastle United footballer, who had just lost out in the sports presenter, commentator and pundit category to Formula One's David Coulthard. (PA)

Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo put aside club differences to show Barcelona's Neymar the ropes at the Ballon d'Or ceremony in January. (Daily Mail)external-link

Liverpool midfielder James Milner has challenged - or maybe confirmed - his boring reputation by reading out tweets from a parody Twitter account. (Copa90)external-link

Former Premier League player and manager Iain Dowie has found an unlikely job outside of football - as a sales manager for a survey company. (Metro)external-link

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