Gerrard ponders Anfield exit - City in the frame
Transfer Talk: Midfielder unhappy after season of failure; Wenger eyes Fulham youngster Smalling
Could Steven Gerrard finally be leaving Anfield? It seems that the talismanic midfielder is willing to listen to offers from other clubs and could make a dramatic move to Italy, Spain or Manchester after the World Cup.
The Mail says Gerrard is in a similar state of mind to the one he found himself in during the dog days of Gerrard Houllier's reign when he nearly signed for Chelsea.
Last time he stayed, but now age is against the player. Gerrard turns 30 at the end of the season and may move on in a bid to finally get a league title under his belt. The paper reports that Real Madrid, Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan and Manchester City are all wooing him.
City boss Roberto Mancini is said to be confident of his chances of landing the player, although Gerrard is said to be anxious about the politics of moving to another English club and may follow in Michael Owen's footsteps and head for Madrid.
The Mail says that Liverpool are on the brink of bringing Kenwyne Jones to Anfield on a loan deal from Sunderland. With Fernando Torres out for several weeks with a knee injury, and Steven Gerrard sidelined by a hamstring injury, the Reds are desperately short of firepower as they attempt to haul themselves into the top four of the Premier League.
The 25-year-old Jones has won nearly 50 caps for Trinidad & Tobago star and his height and pace make him a handful for opposition defenders. He's scored six goals this season for Sunderland and attracted interest from several top clubs with Birmingham City having a recent bid turned down.
For a man with a reputation for achieving big things in his management career, Arsenal's Arsene Wenger is said to be thinking Smalling right now – Chris Smalling, Fulham's Under-21 centre-half.
According to the Daily Mirror, Wenger sees Smalling – who started his football life with non-league Maidstone – as a long-term addition to the Gunners' squad and one who would benefit from a few months' playing alongside veteran defender Sol Campbell, recently brought back to Arsenal for the rest of the season.
The paper says that Wenger is set to sign Smalling, 20, in a "stunning £7 million deal" having been impressed by the Fulham player's Premier League full debut last month against Chelsea. Even though Smalling scored an own goal he showed a maturity beyond his years, convincing Wenger that he has a bright future in the game.
Smalling joined Fulham in the summer of 2008, opting to sign professional terms with the London club rather than take up a place at Loughborough University on a business management degree.
There are transfer rumblings being heard down the road from the Emirates Stadium as Spurs boss Harry Redknapp prepares to snap up David James. The Mirror says the England goalkeeper will leave Portsmouth on a loan deal with Spurs "paying his £50,000-a-week salary" in addition to giving the south coast club an undisclosed transfer fee.
James was reported to have all but signed for Stoke last week but the deal fell through when Portsmouth upped the asking price. With Spurs' first-choice keeper Heurelho Gomes in good nick at the moment, James will have his work cut out to nail down a starting spot in the Spurs side, something he's desperate with the World Cup getting ever closer.
Several newspapers report that Robinho looks to be exit-bound at Manchester City after failing to impress new boss Roberto Mancini. The Brazilian came on as a ninth-minute substitute against Everton, only to be hauled off early in the second half, as City slumped to a 2-0 defeat.
Mancini hardly gave the £32.5 million signing a ringing endorsement when asked if Robinho had a future at City. "All players try to work hard during the week in training and that is the most important thing," said Mancini. "If he wants a future here, then, yes, that is what he has to do." ·
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