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TRANSFER RUMOURS Part 2: Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City, Portsmouth, Newcastle, Aston Villa, Birmingham

Part 2 of this huge rumour rumpus, again courtesy of Sportingo’s Michael Walsh…

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has ruled himself out of ever taking charge of England (Daily Telegraph). The Frenchman insists it’s a job that should only go to a true “rosbif”.

Wenger said: “For a big country you need a manager from the same country – England created the game. I manage in England and I hope I can help English football, but the national team should be managed by an English guy.

“If I’m England manager and I play France, what national anthem do I sing? It shows you are not completely comfortable.” Music to the ears of Big Sam, if not to England fans dreading the thought of another clown filling the boots of Steve McClaren.

Harry Redknapp – give him the England job NOW! – is fed up with “monotonous, plodding” European football on the telly when he’d no doubt rather be watching Corrie. “I am speaking not as a manager and member of the football fraternity but as a punter who likes to watch exciting games on TV,” says Harry (The Sun).

He adds: “The Champions League is fast replacing the Carling Cup as a stage for the reserves to enjoy a few days in a pretty, foreign town and a run out.” So no croissant and cappuccino for Harry when Pompey surge into Europe next season.

Chelsea are battling Real Madrid for Corinthians starlet Lulinha (The Independent). Frank Arnesen, the Blues’ head of youth development, is confident of a quick deal for the 17-year-old, who plays as an attacking midfielder or second striker.

Newcastle are planning an £8million swoop for Zenit St Petersburg forward Andrei Arshavin (Daily Mirror), who has skippered Russia to the brink of Euro 2008 qualification at England’s expense. Boss Sam Allardyce also has the hots for Villarreal’s Argentine playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme (The Sun).

The Italian press are claiming Juventus expect to tie Aston Villa defender Olof Mellberg to a pre-contract in January. Mellberg insists he’s happy at Villa Park, but Juve reckon they have almost secured a deal for the Swede and will now turn to investing in a younger defender to play alongside the veteran.

After all the mud-slinging between Fergie and Wenger this week, Arsenal and Manchester United are getting into another barney over Benfica striker Angel di Maria (The Times). The Argentina Under-20 star almost joined the Gunners in August, only for Rosario Central to sell him to Benfica. Wenger remains keen on Di Maria, but the youngster is said to hanker after a move to Old Trafford.

United are rewarding Serbian international defender Nemanja Vidic with a new £60,000-a-week deal even though he still has two-and-a-half years left to run on his current contract (Daily Mail). That’s half of what Rio Ferdinand gets for a player who can look twice as good. Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa is being linked with a £7.5million move from Club America as Sir Alex Ferguson’s long-term replacement for Edwin van der Sar (Daily Star).

Manchester City boss Sven Goran Eriksson is off to Bangkok, not for some rumpy-pumpy, but to sign Thai right-back Suree Sukha and open a new soccer – or maybe Sukah – academy (The Sun).

This weekend’s big Midlands derby is warming up nicely with Birmingham City chief David Gold demanding an apology from Villa bigwigs over being called a “pig in mud” (Various). It’s the pork of Brum, apparently.



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