Friday's gossip column - transfers and rumours
Borussia Dortmund's £18m-rated Polish striker Robert Lewandowski, 24, is on his way to Manchester United this summer.
Chelsea have joined Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain in the chase for Everton and England left-back Leighton Baines, 28, who is valued at around £15m by his club.
Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini aims to beat Chelsea to the signing of Barcelona's 31-year-old Spain international David Villa.
But Chelsea midfielder Oriol Romeu, 21, says he would welcome Villa with open arms if the prolific striker ends up moving to Stamford Bridge during the transfer window.
Arsenal are also in the hunt for Villa, with Arsene Wenger prepared to bid £16m for him - though a loan deal would also be a possibility.
Cristiano Ronaldo is set to stun Real Madrid by refusing to sign a new contract, paving the way for the likes of Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain to make a move for the 27-year-old Portuguese.
Chelsea have been dealt a blow in their pursuit of Atletico Madrid's £48m-rated striker Radamel Falcao, 26, after he indicated he wants to remain in Spain until the end of the season.
Harry Redknapp will turn to Fulham's Norwegian centre-half and captain Brede Hangeland, 31, to shore up his Queens Park Rangers defence.
GLOBAL GOSSIP (sourced by BBC monitoring)
Negotiations between David Beckham and Monaco have ended, with the French club unwilling to meet the 37-year-old former England captain's financial demands.
An unnamed Russian club tried to tempt Argentina international Lionel Messi out of his recent contract renewal with Barcelona by offering him a three-year deal on a £24.7m annual salary.
Juventus are looking to sign defender Federico Peluso, 28, on a loan deal from Atalanta.
Former Aston Villa first-team coach Kevin MacDonald has emerged as the leading contender to succeed Henning Berg as Blackburn manager.
MacDonald could be placed in charge at Rovers alongside Judan Ali - who has been involved in a Bollywood football movie and was assistant manager of a London Sunday league side three years ago.
Spaniard Gregorio Manzano, who left Atletico Madrid 12 months ago, is also interested in the Blackburn job.
Phil Jagielka says influential midfielder Marouane Fellaini, 25, could struggle to win back his Everton place after the Toffees won two games without the suspended Belgian.
Jermaine Pennant, 29, has been backed by Wolves boss Stale Solbakken to silence the jeers after fans vented their frustration at the former Liverpool winger for the club's poor form.
Adam Johnson, 25, has urged his Sunderland team-mates to use the victory over Manchester City on Wednesday as a springboard for the rest of the season.
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert is refusing to single out his defence for leaking 12 goals in the last two games - and insists his midfielders and strikers need to take a share of responsibility.
Yossi Benayoun has said his loan spell with West Ham will not be extended and the 32-year-old will return to Chelsea next week after four league appearances in this spell for the Hammers.
Swansea boss Michael Laudrup has revealed "a couple of glasses of wine" proved enough to calm down Sir Alex Ferguson after the Manchester United manager claimed Robin van Persie, 29, could have been killed at the Liberty Stadium.
Sunderland supporters who persistently stand during matches have been suspended from using their season tickets.
Gareth Bale is good enough to play for Brazil, according to the 23-year-old's Spurs team-mate Sandro.
The verb "Zlataner" has officially entered the Swedish language, in reference to England tormentor Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paris Saint-Germain's Sweden international striker. The word, meaning "to dominate by force", is one of 40 new expressions to be included in the latest edition of the Swedish dictionary.
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Comment number 63.BackOfTheNet
30th December 2012 - 0:10
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Comment number 44.leave this one alone
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