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TRANSFER RUMOURS: Arsenal, Chelsea, Bolton, Newcastle, Manchester City, Birmingham, Wigan

Sportingo’s Mark Rivlin brings us some transfer rumours to spice up our Sunday…The Sunday newspapers are as ever full of football transfer rubbish (sorry, news). This bulletin of rumours also includes snippets from Birmingham, Wigan, Bolton and Valencia.Tottenham coach Juande Ramos is planning a £30m raid on Valencia’s David Villa as he is worried Dimitar Berbatov still wants to quit the club (News of the World). Should he not be more worried that the brilliant Villa would want to join Spurs?

Still at White Hart Lane, NOTW rivals The People report that Ramos is looking to lure unsettled Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby away from the Emirates for what looks like a snip at £7m.

Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce wants to take his former Bolton defender Tal Ben-Haim to Tyneside for a knockdown £1m from Chelsea (People). Even if Avram Grant does not give him regular runouts, why would Ben-Haim give up the designer boutiques of the King’s Road for Primark and Netto in Newcastle, if you get the drift?

Allardyce is also planning another raid on his former club Bolton in a bid to take Senegal midfielder El-Hadji Diouf to St James’ Park (various). Diouf is more trouble than he is worth and makes the front pages more than the back. It’s surely a sign of growing despair on Tyneside that the only way Allardyce feels he can halt what looks like a troubling slide is to go back to the future.

Birmingham are locked in a desperate scrap to stop Steve Bruce from taking his assistant Eric Black to Wigan Athletic (Daily Star Sunday). I despair of football chairmen sometimes, especially one like Dave Whelan who was a top-division player in his day. What does Bruce have that endears him to the Wigan supremo, aside from taking Birmingham up and down divisions like a yoyo on crack?

David Beckham insists he would sacrifice the chance to win his 100th cap in exchange for England grabbing a Euro 2008 place (Sunday Express). Well, isn’t that a magnificent gesture by the best player in the Galaxy? And given the amount (and quality) of football that Beckham has played in Disneyland, Steve McClaren would be away with the fairies to pick Becks.

Manchester City boss Sven-Goran Eriksson is to be handed more than £150m by owner Thaksin Shinawatra for new players (Mail on Sunday). Now that is a lot of envelopes. Always an exponent of the beautiful game, Sven’s credibility is possibly under scrutiny with the news that City are giving trials to three players from Shanghai Shen Hua, their new partner club in China (Mail on Sunday).

Striker Gao Lin, 21 will be joined at City’s Carrington training ground by 19-year-old goalkeeper Wang Da Lei and midfielder Mao Jianqing, 22. Boxing aficianados will remember Gao Lin from the brawl at the Queen Park Rangers training ground earlier in the year which resulted in hospitalisation for a team-mate.

Alan Shearer has admitted he wants to succeed McClaren as England coach (various) Hang on Alan, wouldn’t it be a better idea to cut your teeth with a club first and see how good you are? And judging by Shearer’s gormless observations in the TV studio, one can’t imagine half-time team talks being on the upper end of the motivational scale.


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