Today's fluff is feeling winter's boney finger poking it in the chest
According to this morning's Sun, Manchester City are "on De Rossi alert" after Roma indicated they may be willing to sell former Status Quo frontman Daniele De Rossi, also a City target in the summer. De Rossi has reportedly fallen out with Zdenek Zeman and Roma are "willing to listen to offers" for the knock-kneed midfield enforcer-cum-galloping Azzurri wide-man. "In the summer there was an offer made by Manchester City. We listened to that offer and considered it. If we were to get another offer we would listen again," general manager Franco Baldini explained, describing in very specific detail the exact process of receiving an offer, listening to it, and then hoping to receive another offer, presumably the same offer, which will then be listened to again, but still leaving out lots of important details such as where exactly he would do the listening, how long it would take to listen to the offer, if he would adopt a thoughtful, ruminative pose for the duration of listening to the offer, perhaps placing a single finger against his temple and staring into the distance or producing a large waxed-leather ear trumpet. Roma would want at least £30m for the tough-tackling midfielder, who would provide a slight upgrade on various other tough-tackling midfielders already at the club .
The Sun also reports that TV's Gordon Strachan is favourite to replace Craig Levein, who has been sacked by the Scottish Fitba Association. "The view of the board is we are not bottom-of-the-group material, we're better than that," the Scottish Fitba Association chief executive, Stewart Regan, said, clutching a piece of paper with the words "second from bottom of the group material" scrawled on it.
Reading's Russian owner Anton Zingarevich has decided ambling occasional Andrey Arshavin is the man to inject a disinterested brio into Brian McDermott's midfield. Arshavin would cost £15m. And Martin Skrtel has decided he doesn't want to dwell in eternal hellfire in exchange for what is invariably a highly unimaginative vision of worldly excess involving buying paintings and living in an amazing flat with an unexpressive and sinister supermodel. "I just extended my Liverpool contract and I'm very satisfied, so let's leave it at that," Skrtel said, having rebuffed further offers from cash-splurging Dagestan-based footballing construct Anzhi Mephistopheles.
In the Daily Mail Tottenham are considering a swoop for on-loan goal-bludgeon Andy Carroll. Carroll has yet to score for West Ham but he has succeeded in pushing a lot of people over, and also developed the ability to roll around on his back waggling his limbs like a giant woodlouse while making a range of appalled, pleading gestures of the referee. Carroll, whose career is rapidly dwindling into a single doomed attempt to finally execute successfully an overhead kick, would cost close to £20m. Albeit this is a largely made-up figure based solely on the fact Liverpool previously paid £35m for him and not related to alien concepts such as actual relative value.
Lille are considering rescuing Joe Cole from serial humiliation at Liverpool. "Sportingly and humanly, I'd love to see him back," Lille coach Rudi Garcia said, preparing a dose of morphine and loading his shotgun. And Portsmouth manager Michael Appleton is favourite to take over at Blackpool, ahead of fellow candidates Paul Ince and Owen Coyle.
In the Mirror, Manchester United are considering making a move for Blackpool's Thomas Ince if Portuguese wing-disappointment Nani fails to sign a new contract. If. If. If … Thomas. Put. The. United. Shirt. Down. Chelsea are finally getting bored of being told how much Radamel Falcao will cost – £46m! £103m! A space station made of cheese! – and may turn their attentions to Loïc Rémy and Jackson Martínez. Rémy of Marseille, who has been knocking around for years, will cost £15m. Martínez, like Falcao, is Colombian, which may count for something, albeit the Mill can't help thinking going for him instead is a bit like trying to chat up the best friend of the way-out-of-your-league suburban princess at some dismal provincial high street mega-disco in the vague drunken hope the way-out-of-your-league suburban princess will become overwhelmingly fascinated and jealous and intrigued as a result rather than simply looking bored for a bit and then swanning off with some preening minor local celebrity.
Also in the Mirror, Liverpool are closing in on perennial rumour favourite Klaas-Jan Huntelaar who has failed to agree a new contract at Schalke. Liverpool value Huntelaar at £9m. Schalke want a lot more. Andy Carroll – and the Mill cannot emphasise this enough – is still available.