Sir Alex Ferguson latest: Wednesday's gossip column

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SIR ALEX FERGUSON CONSIDERS RETIREMENT?

Sir Alex Ferguson is considering retiring as Manchester United manager before the end of the week, reports the Daily Telegraph's Mark Ogden.

As rumours of the 71-year-old's imminent retirement swept Manchester, senior figures at the club failed to respond to repeated attempts to confirm or deny the story, which emerged following United's player versus coaches golf day near Altrincham on Tuesday afternoon.

Sir Alex Ferguson

With United now forced to adhere to the strict regulations of the New York Stock Exchange in terms of the release of significant information relating to the running of the club following last August's partial flotation, any change of management would fall within those requirements.

As of Tuesday night, no statement over Ferguson's future had been issued by United.

Ferguson had appeared to brush aside the prospect of standing down this summer when he insisted in his programme notes prior to Sunday's Old Trafford defeat against Chelsea: "I certainly don't have any plans at the moment to walk away from what I believe will be something special."

Is Fergie set to call it quits? - Daily Express

Ferguson's future was the subject of intense speculation on Tuesday night as rumours circled Manchester that he is set to announce his retirement.

United players were apparently told at a golf day that the club are preparing a major announcement at the final home match of the season, against Swansea on Sunday, when they will receive the Premier League trophy.

'Ferguson to quit' rumour rocks United - Daily Mail

United failed on Tuesday night to quell suggestions inside and outside the club that manager Ferguson is about to announce his retirement.

The speculation is also believed to have been aired among the United first-team squad. The club refused to comment on Tuesday night and, although that is not unusual, the club were not even returning calls on the matter.

Sir Alex Ferguson

Fergie to retire? Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson's future under intense speculation - Daily Mirror

Ferguson's future as United boss was under intense speculation on Tuesday amid claims of a major announcement at Old Trafford on Sunday.

United's players, who were involved in a golf match with Ferguson's coaching staff on Tuesday, were told to expect an announcement on Ferguson's future while MUTV, the club's in-house TV station, was also primed to broadcast a major development on Sunday.

United stunner: Fergie future in doubt - Manchester Evening News

Ferguson is reportedly considering his future as Reds boss as rumours of an imminent retirement announcement swirled on Tuesday night.

Since last August's partial flotation on the New York Stock Exchange, United would be expected to disclose significant information such as a change of manager. And the Reds will likely make a statement soon to avoid uncertainty that could affect investor confidence.

Doubts grow over Alex Ferguson's future at Manchester United - the Independent

Ferguson's future was shrouded in doubt on Tuesday night amid suggestions that the United manager is seriously considering drawing his 26-year reign as manager to a close.

At the end of a day of intense rumours of the 71-year-old's imminent retirement, which included pronounced betting patterns which saw bookmakers slash their odds on Everton manager David Moyes replacing the Scot at Old Trafford, there had been neither confirmation nor denial that Ferguson is ready to deliver a shock announcement

Sir Alex Ferguson 'considers his future at Manchester United' - Metro

Ferguson's United future was shrouded in mystery as rumours gathered pace that the 71-year-old is about to call time on his 26-year reign.

United held a player versus coaches golf day at Dunham Massey on Tuesday afternoon and the manager's future was the hot topic of conversation.

TRANSFER GOSSIP

Wayne Rooney, 27, tells his Manchester United team-mates he wants to join Bayern Munich in a deal that would cost the Germans £30m.

Full story: Daily Mirror

Arsenal and Liverpool will have to stump up at least £10m if they are to capture Swansea captain Ashley Williams, 28, at the end of the season.

Full story: Metro

Atletico Madrid are believed to be preparing a £40m bid for 26-year-old Liverpool striker Luis Suarez.

Full story: Daily Mirror

Hull are planning a move for Birmingham defender Curtis Davies, 28, as they prepare for life in the Premier League.

Full story: Daily Mail

West Brom striker Peter Odemwingie, 31, can leave The Hawthorns if a suitable agreement can be reached with another club as the Nigeria international still has 12 months left to run on his current deal.

Full story: Birmingham Mail

Dean Saunders, 48, could return to Doncaster as manager after his sacking by relegated Wolves on Tuesday.

Full story: the Sun

Barcelona are to step up their interest in Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina, 30, who has three years left on his Anfield contract.

Full story: Daily Mail

Former Arsenal midfielder Alex Song, 25, has insisted that he will not return to England despite failing to hold down a regular first-team place at La Liga giants Barcelona.

Gonzalo Higuain
Gonzalo Higuain has made 186 appearances for Real Madrid since 2007, scoring 104 goals

Full story: London Evening Standard

Sporting Kansas City boss Peter Vermes has revealed a number of clubs in Europe have already declared their interest in signing former Norwich City loan striker Kei Kamara, 28.

Full story: Eastern Daily Press

Juventus are ahead of Tottenham in the race to sign 25-year-old Real Madrid forward Gonzalo Higuain, after opening talks with the Argentine's representatives.

Full story: talkSPORT

Celtic are believed to be monitoring Burnley's 28-goal striker Charlie Austin, 23.

Full story: Lancashire Telegraph

AC Milan are considering an offer for Manchester City's 32-year-old defender Kolo Toure.

Full story: Daily Mail

Queens Park Rangers boss Harry Redknapp has revealed he expects 33-year-old goalkeeper Julio Cesar to leave Loftus Road at the end of the season.

Full story: Sky Sports

Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United could make bids in excess of £40m for Tottenham and Wales forward Gareth Bale, 23.

Full story: London Evening Standard

GLOBAL GOSSIP (sourced by BBC Monitoring)

Real Madrid are interested in signing Napoli's Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani, 26, but may be deterred by the price of the release clause in his contract.

Full story: Marca (in Spanish)

Barcelona are looking to sign Borussia Dortmund's Ilkay Gundogan, 22, although the German club will attempt to keep him with a renegotiated contract.

Full story: Sport.es (in Spanish)

Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri is among the contenders to take over at Juventus if Antonio Conte decides to leave after winning his second successive league title with the Turin-based club.

Full story: Tuttosport (in Italian)

AND FINALLY

A German football fan has put down a beach towel to reserve a seat at Wembley for the Champions League final.

Full story: Daily Star

Lokeren goalkeeper Boubacar Barry, 33, woke up with a nasty headache on Monday morning after smashing his head against the post.

Full story: The 606 newsletter