More Premier League Gossip and Rumours: Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham, Derby, Charlton, Aston Villa

Apparently there is yet another ‘new Zidane’ on offer in the shape off AS Monaco’s attacking midfielder Jeremy Menez, who is being courted by Arsenal, Liverpool and Man United (The Sun & various).

It has been reported that Premier League scouts have been sent to watch the talented Frenchman and this appears to have helped improve his game no end.  He has put in some good performances for Monaco, although the team are still only mid-table in the French league, which perhaps gives the 20-year-old a handy excuse for fleeing Ricardo Gomes’s side.

Whether Menez can ever live up to the Zizu comparisons is another matter, but I dare say he could be very useful to the triumvirate who are chasing him. Of the three sides, I would imagine that Manchester United would be most in need of some midfield magic.

Former Tottenham captain Tim Sherwood says manager Martin Jol must tighten his defence if they’re to move up the table (various). Sherwood should be on Mastermind with ‘stating the bleeding obvious’ as his specialist subject.

Defending has been a problematic area at Spurs for a while now and this has been magnified by the loss of Ledley King and an alarming succession of howlers by England No.1 Paul Robinson.

Sherwood said: “Jol needs to use this international break to sort out his defence in a bid to save his future at Tottenham.” Spurs have managed just two clean sheets in their last 16 matches and those were against a relegation-bound Charlton last term and soon-to be-relegated Derby earlier in this campaign.

Tightening up his defence must be at the forefront of the Dutch manager’s mind. The question is, can it be done with current resources? With King back things will get better, but I do think that Robinson needs to be dropped – he has produced so many clangers this season that anyone else would have been removed by now and it shows a lack of faith in his understudies not to have used them yet.

If I was a reserve goalie at White Hart Lane I would be thinking: “If I am not getting a game now, while Robbo’s playing like a demented chimp, when will I ever get one?”

Martin O’Neill appears to be working his managerial magic at Villa Park and if that is to continue then he will have to listen carefully to the wise words of one of his stars of the future. Gabby Agbonlahor is eager for Aston Villa to offer defender Martin Laursen a new contract (various).

The hometown striker said: “I didn’t realise he was in the last year of his contract, but with the way he’s playing, I’m sure the gaffer will speak to him. We’ll have to see what happens. I think Martin would head a stone if it was chucked up to him! He’ll head anything. He’s a man-mountain. In training, everyone keeps away from him. He’s done really well.”

I couldn’t agree more, Laursen has been determination personified on the occasions I have seen him this season. The former AC Milan defender has had a lot of injury problems since arriving at Villa Park in May 2004. So go on O’Neill, get that pen and paper out and sign him up to a long-term deal.

As for this whole ‘head a stone’ suggestion, as a training ground exercise I think it’s a winner. Maybe the Spurs defence should try it.

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