Today's tittle-tattle is kissing Claude
Rémi Garde, Gilles Grimandi, Igors Stepanovs, Philippe Senderos, William Gallas, Johan Djourou, Sébastien Squillachi, Mikaël Silvestre; the list of centre-backs signed by Arsène Wenger for Arsenal is long and illustrious. And now, with blood in his eyes, bank notes in his nostrils and his club back where it belongs – intimating a title challenge before crumpling in a heap of miserable defending and gossamer nerve – he is hoping to add Fabian Schär from Basel. Wikipedia teaches us that "Schär is a player who wants to make football a more beautiful game", and there is nothing more beautiful than risible failure, so expect him to turn down reported interest from Napoli and Juventus to play with Mesut Özil.
Relatedly, Moyes McGuinness will be on red alert after Andrés Iniesta rejected the offer of a new contract from Barcelona, its salary well below that which he considers acceptable. Moyes is once more excited to demonstrate the sheer force of his masculinity by rejecting another player in another league to those in his squad, on the basis that he already has the ethereal skill of Shinji Kagawa to not pick, plus the attacking verve of Marouane Fellaini, Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia. Perhaps Chelsea will buy him so he might be sportingly loaned to a club who might take points from their rivals and at which he will be forbidden from playing against them.
Another midfielder considering leaving Spain is Xabi Alonso; he is in the final year of his contract at Real Madrid, and with a new deal still not arranged, Liverpool Football Club Football Club are interested in re-signing him. Given that he was binned by them in order to not sign Gareth Barry, thus forcing him to the aforementioned Bernabéu backwater, and given the horror of how that worked out, he may be forced to pass up the honour; once devoured, infinitely petrified, as the saying goes. And Juventus are also interested – perhaps the two can share him.
In other Liverpool Football Club news, new signing Mamadou Sakho has earned early acceptance after snivelling through an ostentatious leaving speech in Paris which showed that he really understands what it means to be part of something so special and unique as to be impenetrably unintelligible to all outsiders. However, he is already talking about returning there, and is therefore a disgusting disgrace with no conception of the manner in which fortune has smiled upon him, no better than any of the people than whom it is impossible to be worse.
In other Liverpool Football Club news, Glen Johnson will be offered a new contract, but at a reduced rate; he currently earns £110,000 a week. Put that in your day and smoke it.
Jiloan Hamad is also a lucky boy. An Azerbaijan-born Swedish winger who currently plays for Malmo and is out of contract in the summer, his signature is sought by three English clubs: he can either smash balls at Andy Carroll for West Ham, play in defence for Fulham, or live in Norwich. Caligula would have blushed.
Also looking to spend money are Spurs, attracted more by accordant attention than specifics. But they are considering allowing Fábio Coentrão to understudy Danny Rose, an offer tempting enough for Jehovah, were it a halibut.
And finally for today, Sunderland's search for a new apprentice manager goes on. With everyone they might want immediately distancing themselves from the job, plans are afoot to tempt Gianfranco Zola from Udinese Reserves with the promise of unspecified Italian reserves. But this is not their only option; given his appalling managerial record, they are also looking at the Blackpool manager Paul Ince, after which they will proceed down a modified copy of the electoral roll; one which contains the name of every citizen qualified to vote in the UK, save Stuart Pearce.