Liverpool eye Carlton Cole as Lampard ponders LA Galaxy
Desperate Reds linked to Hammers striker, and are Lampard's days at Chelsea numbered?
LIVERPOOL'S hunt for a striker has taken an unusual twist after it was claimed that the Reds may try and raid West Ham for one of their forwards in January. No, they don't want to bring back Andy Carroll, the £35m man they loaned to the Hammers days before the transfer window shut, they are actually after his even less co-ordinated strike partner Carlton Cole.
According to the website Caughtoffside the rumour is doing the rounds in Italy, but even they admit that it is "hard to swallow", which gives a pretty good indication of how far-fetched it actually is.
On to more believable rumours and Arsenal are "on alert" after it was revealed Brede Hangeland is shying away from signing a new deal with Fulham. Cottagers boss Martin Jol is known to be keen for the nimble-footed Norwegian to remain in west London when his current contract expires in May but it appears negotiations have become bogged down.
As a result, says the Metro, Arsenal are "keeping tabs on the situation" with Arsene Wenger said to be a fan of the 31-year-old defender. However, the paper quotes Jol as saying: "We will try to keep him for the next two years."
Another Arsenal target is said to be Newcastle striker Demba Ba, who as we reported last week doesn't appear all that happy with life on the Tyne. But Magpies boss Alan Pardew has brushed off suggestions that the Senegalese star could be on his way out of the club. "We all need to focus our minds on the job in hand, that's what we're doing," Pardew told the Express. "Demba and I are quite intelligent about the way we go about things. He's an intelligent boy."
Demba started the game against Norwich on Sunday and soon showed why Arsenal are so desperate for his services, scoring the only goal of the game to move the Magpies up to 10th.
Meanwhile, speculation is mounting that Frank Lampard will be on his way to LA Galaxy in the New Year after his agent was spotted in the crowd at Saturday night's encounter with Toronto.
Steve Kutner took his place in the Galaxy stadium to watch the MLS outfit - minus the injured David Beckham - crush the Canadians 4-2. The Sun says that Galaxy are "getting closer" to signing the 34-year-old England midfielder, who was first linked to a Stateside move in the summer.
The paper claims that Chelsea are yet to offer Lampard a new deal to his existing contract, and it's rumoured that he's been talked into joining Galaxy by his old pal Beckham. A Galaxy insider - who wished to remain anonymous - whispered to The Sun's man in LA: "We want the best players from around the world and Frank is top of our list. Getting Frank would send a message around the world that the MLS is serious." It would also send a message that Lampard realises his days at the Bridge are as numbered as a domino.
Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo is also urging the club to get Ashley Cole to sign a new contract before he jumps ship. According to London 24 the boss is desperate to keep the left back, who he said is a club legend on a par with John Terry.
Finally the Mirror says that Tottenham and Liverpool have joined the chase for Spanish sensation Isco. Arsenal are known to have already scouted out the Malaga striker but the Mirror says interest is hotting up for the services of the 20-year-old. Manchester United and Juventus are reported to be as eager as the Gunners to sign Isco and it appears Malaga boss Manuel Pellegrini has accepted the club will be forced to cash in on his popularity: "He is a player who has a great future," said Pellegrini. "Nobody knows what his limit is." ·