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Football rumours on Monday 23rd February

last updated Monday 23rd February 2009, 9:42 AM

Football rumours from today's newspapers.

  • Aston Villa and Newcastle are gearing up for a summer battle to sign Manchester City midfielder Michael Johnson. (Daily Mirror)

  • Wigan and Everton are both on the trail of Wolves' £5m-rated striker Sylvan Ebanks-Blake. (Daily Mirror)

  • Everton, along with Blackburn and West Ham, are also interested in Wolves right-back Kevin Foley. (Daily Mirror)

  • Birmingham forward Gary McSheffrey is set to join Nottingham Forest on loan after four months out with a knee injury. (Daily Mail)

  • Midfielder Michael Tonge could be returning to Sheffield United on loan after failing to hold down a place at Stoke. (Daily Mirror)

  • Rangers are keeping an eye on Hamilton midfielder James McArthur with a view to a summer transfer swoop. The Ibrox club are also on the trail of Huddersfield's teenage keeper Alex Smithies. (Daily Star)
  • Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has conceded for the first time that the title is slipping away from Liverpool. (Times)

  • Benitez admitted that his side must beat Manchester United in March to have any chance of taking the title to Anfield. (Various)

  • The Spaniard has refused to play down speculation that he is prepared to walk away from Liverpool because of the on-going dispute over his new contract. He has rejected four drafts of a new four-year deal. (Daily Telegraph)

  • But Benitez is hopeful midfielder Steven Gerrard will be back for the club's trip to Real Madrid in the Champions League. (Sun)

  • Manchester City manager Mark Hughes has described as "laughable" reports that forward Robinho is refusing to talk to team-mate Craig Bellamy, adding "there are a lot of people out there who don't want us to succeed". (Times)

  • Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard says Chelsea have found their form of old after beating Aston Villa 1-0 at Villa Park on Saturday. (Sun)

  • Inter Milan manager Jose Mourinho believes he deserves the credit for turning Manchester United into European champions, claiming his reign at Chelsea from 2004-2007 made United up their game. (Sun)

  • Mourinho says that, like him, his team are special and will beat United in their Champions League first knockout round first leg on Tuesday. (Daily Mirror)

  • Inter's Ghanaian midfielder Sulley Muntari believes Mourinho is "from a different planet" to United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, adding that there is no manager on earth like Mourinho. (Sun)

  • Newcastle midfielder Kevin Nolan has apologised to Victor Anichebe after his two-footed lunge on the Everton striker that saw him sent off in Sunday's 0-0 draw at St James' Park. (Various)

  • Anichebe was saved a serious injury by his £12 shin pads. (Daily Mail)

  • Bolton manager Gary Megson believes striker Kevin Davies deserves an England call-up. (Times)

  • Sunderland defender George McCartney has admitted his team-mates were not happy working for ex-manager Roy Keane. (Various)

  • The Wearsiders have drawn a line under Keane's reign at the Stadium of Light by wiping out half the fines imposed on players before his departure. (Daily Star)

  • Former Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has turned down the chance to manage Norway after the resignation of Aage Hareide. (Daily Mail)

  • Hull defender Anthony Gardner is shocked by Tottenham's poor season but wants to inflict further misery on his former club by beating them at the KC Stadium on Monday. (Various)

  • Tottenham's error-prone goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes believes he remains the club's first-choice stopper and has called on manager Harry Redknapp to restore him to the first team. (Sun)

  • Gomes has been assured by Redknapp that he will start Sunday's Carling Cup final ahead of Carlo Cudicini. (Guardian)

  • Redknapp has set his team a target of five more victories to secure their Premier League survival. (Daily Mail)

  • Nottingham Forest manager Billy Davies has pleaded with owner Nigel Doughty to give him - rather than football consultant David Pleat, chief executive Mark Arthur and head scout Keith Burt - total control over transfers once the budget has been set. (Sun)

  • Celtic manager Gordon Strachan says his side can kiss goodbye to the SPL title if his strikers don't start hitting the net. (Daily Record)

  • Secretary of state for culture, media and sport Andy Burnham will write to senior police officers this week to demand there is no repeat of the decision to move Everton's game against Stoke to accommodate a rally by the British National Party. The BNP has now cancelled a rally planned for 14 March. (Guardian)

  • Scottish Football Association chief executive Gordon Smith has said the chances of reviving the Scotland v England encounter is on the international board's list of items to be discussed, but could be scuppered by a lack of free international match days. (Daily Mail)

  • Celtic have opened talks with the Scottish Football League to enter a side into the Third Division which could see them granted permission to compete in the lowest league within two years and possibly as early as next season. (Daily Record)

  • Former Gretna boss Rowan Alexander admits he is on the financial brink and is unable to get a job. Alexander was sacked by the former SPL club in 2007 and lost out on a claim for pay when the Borders outfit went to the wall. (Daily Record)
  • Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is getting his first cookery show - appearing in Red Devils Kitchen, a programme on the club's in-house television station. (Daily Star)

  • Andrey Arshavin has revealed he was too shy to go through his initiation ceremony at Arsenal, which involves climbing onto a table before lunch on the day of your debut and singing a song or making a speech. (Daily Star)

Source BBC Sport
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