Thursday's gossip column: Football transfers & rumours
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Real Madrid are on the verge of completing a £94m deal to bring Tottenham's 24-year-old forward Gareth Bale to the Bernabeu. Spurs chairman Daniel Levy discussed the deal on Wednesday night with the Spanish club.
Real Madrid want Bale to make his home debut on Sunday 1 September against Athletic Bilbao because the midday kick-off would maximise the global television audience watching his first game in Spain.
Chelsea have been told they have hope of signing Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney, 27, if the Premier League champions can find a replacement for the England international.
Manchester United expect the Blues to increase efforts to unsettle Rooney by lodging a third bid for the forward within 48 hours.
French side Paris St-Germain could outbid Arsenal for Newcastle midfielder Yohan Cabaye, 27, as the Ligue 1 club prepare a £20m bid.
Arsenal are giving serious consideration to re-signing 29-year-old holding midfielder Mathieu Flamini, who has been training with the club for the past fortnight since his contract expired at AC Milan.
Manchester City will have to spend £4.26m if they want to sign Atletico Madrid defender Martin Demichelis, 32, this summer.
West Brom are confident they can complete the signing of boss Steve Clarke's top target Scott Sinclair - the 24-year-old Manchester City winger - within the next 48 hours.
Xabi Alonso, 31, is expected to be out of action for three months after fracturing a metatarsal in training. The Real Madrid midfielder's absence will hinder Manchester United's hopes of signing Croatia midfielder Luka Modric, 27.
Chelsea are favourites to sign England Under-21 defender Eric Dier, 19, who has a £4.2m buyout clause in his Sporting Lisbon contract.
Sunderland winger Adam Johnson, 26, is hoping a successful season with the Black Cats can earn him a place in Roy Hodgson's England World Cup squad.
Former England manager Steve McClaren is competing with ex-Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate and former Manchester United reserve team manager Rene Meulensteen to become the new England Under-21 head coach.
Tottenham striker Emmanuel Adebayor does not want to leave the London club despite manager Andre Villas-Boas making it clear the 29-year-old is surplus to requirements at White Hart Lane.
GLOBAL GOSSIP (Sourced by BBC Monitoring)
Midfielder Abel Aguilar, 28, has turned down advances from Spanish sides Valencia, Real Sociedad and Granada, to join French Ligue 1 side Toulouse.
Paris St-Germain have allowed midfielder Clement Chantome, 25, join Toulouse on loan.
Fenerbahce fans tried to upset Arsenal's star players before their Champions League qualification play-off first leg by setting off fireworks outside their team hotel on Tuesday night. It did not seem to bother the Gunners who beat the Turkish outfit 3-0.
Tottenham travel to Dinamo Tbilisi for their Europa League qualifying play-off on Thursday, and the last time they played in the Georgian capital, in 1973, they were greeted in a disturbing manner.
"When we went out to inspect the pitch, in the middle was a sort of wooden gallows," says former Spurs captain Steve Perryman. "Hanging by its neck was their idea of a cockerel. Of course, that's our emblem. That was their way of saying welcome!"