Manchester United set to make £30m bid for Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema after Gareth Bale declares he's staying in Spain 

  • Real Madrid could cash in on Karim Benzema to boost their transfer funds
  • Cristiano Ronaldo is set to start ahead of Benzema under Rafa Benitez
  • Arsenal and Chelsea are both keen on Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain
  • Sunderland will attempt to sign young Chelsea striker Patrick Bamford
  • Slaven Bilic is set for talks with West Ham co-owner David Sullivan 
  • Brazil legend Romario could be perfect man to replace Sepp Blatter 

Manchester United are set to make a £30million move for Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema after Gareth Bale insisted he was staying at the Spanish club.

United hoped to lure Bale to Old Trafford this summer but the Welsh international is adamant he wants to continue his career in La Liga.

And new manager Rafa Benitez sees him in his plans, not least after he revealed he wants to play Cristiano Ronaldo in a central striking role.

Karim Benzema (right), pictured with rapper Drake in New York, is a transfer target for Manchester United

Gareth Bale, pictured getting away from Barcelona's Neymar, has declared he's staying with Real Madrid

That would put Benzema on the sidelines but give Bale more scope on either flank.

Ideally, Benitez would want to keep Benzema in the squad but it seems the club are ready to cash in on the Frenchman to bolster their transfer funds.

And it is understood United have been alerted that Benzema is up for grabs.

United are set to bid £30m for Benzema, who is likely to find himself behind Cristiano Ronaldo next season


Arsenal and Chelsea are both in the hunt for Napoli's £30m-rated striker Gonzalo Higuain.

It is understood Napoli are ready to sell Argentine and Higuan is just the sort of striker Arsenal need to give their attack an added edge.

In his two years in Serie A with Napoli his strike rate is an impressive 35 goals in 69 games, while for Argentina he has 23 goals in 47 internationals.

Arsenal and Chelsea are both keen on Gonzalo Higuain, pictured celebrating a goal against Lazio last week

Chelsea are said to be considering some sort of deal with Radamal Falcao, although the situation seems to be driven by the player and his agent rather than Chelsea.

But the Blues could see Higuain as the extra striker they need, especially given constant injury concern over Diego Costa.

Higuain, pictured missing a penalty against Lazio, has scored 35 goals in 69 games for Napoli


Liverpool, if they eventually conclude they are better off selling Raheem Sterling this summer, would prefer to offload the player abroad – with Real Madrid the most likely destination – rather than to another English club .

It has been suggested there is no way Liverpool would do business with their bitter north west rivals Manchester United.

Manchester City are said to be poised to make a £30m bid for Sterling, although it is believed Liverpool would want £50m if they did sell.

Raheem Sterling, pictured in England training, is hoping to force through a move away from Liverpool 

Arsenal and Chelsea are thought to be assessing the situation too and it is thought the player would prefer a move to London.

But, intriguingly, when unveiled as new Real Madrid boss Bentitez hinted he would be in the market for Sterling as Football Grapevine revealed last week.

And if Sterling is sold a potential replacement is Russian winger Denis Cheryshev – who is at Real Madrid.

Liverpool could move for Real Madrid's Denis Cheryshev (left), who spent last season on loan at Villarreal


West Ham are bracing themselves for £15m raid from Sampdoria for striker Enner Valencia.


Southampton are set to join the race for Charlie Austin, with relegated QPR certain to cash in on the new England striker this summer.

Austin, who is set to make his Three Lions debut against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin on Sunday, is on the wanted list of Tottenham, Newcastle, West Brom and possibly West Ham.

But the Saints are ready to act decisively and offer in the region of £12m for the centre forward.

Southampton will offer in the region of £12million for QPR striker Charlie Austin this summer 


Crystal Palace are poised to bid in the region of £15m for Scotland striker Jordan Rhodes.

Rhodes, 25, hit 21 goals for Blackburn in the Championship last summer and is one of several targets on Alan Pardew's summer hit list.

Pardew is looking to bring four players to improve his squad having recently secured Jason Puncheon on a new four-year deal.


Chelsea's Juan Cuadrado could be out of the club this summer just five months after signing for the Blues.

Cuadrado was a £26m signing from Fiorentina in January but the 26-year-old Colombian winger has failed to get game time at Stamford Bridge.

It has been reported in Italy that both Roma and Inter Milan are interested.

Chelsea winger Juan Cuadrado (left) could leave the club this summer despite only joining in January


Sunderland will test Chelsea's will to keep hold of young striker Patrick Bamford.

Bamford impressed in the Championship, scoring 17 goals for Middlesbrough whilst on loan from the Blues.

Ideally Bamford, 21, now wants to be given a chance in the Chelsea first team squad.

Manager Jose Mourinho has yet to be convinced. Chelsea may offer the player a new deal and farm him out again but in that circumstance the England Under 21 international may follow the path of former Chelsea left back Ryan Bertrand.

Since leaving for Southampton last summer after a series of loans, Bertrand has blossomed and forced his way into the England team.

Sunderland will attempt to sign England Under 21 striker Patrick Bamford from Chelsea this summer


I am hearing

Having turned down the chance of declaring for the Republic of Ireland senior team and playing against England, Jack Grealish opted for a more genteel end to the season after his poor display in Aston Villa's 4-0 FA Cup final defeat to Arsenal.

Instead of joining up with Martin O'Neill's squad, the 19-year-old was spotted enjoying some rest and relaxation in Marbella last week.

Despite having played for the Republic at several youth levels and for the Under 21s, the Birmingham-born player with strong Irish roots could yet opt to play for England.

Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish (right) is likely to choose to play for England in the future


I am also hearing

Slaven Bilic will meet West Ham joint owner David Sullivan over the weekend.

Bilic is the favourite to succeed Sam Allardyce as new Hammers boss.

It has been reported there are still a couple more candidates in the frame but sources close to the club would not say who they are.

Prime target Frank de Boer of Ajax ruled himself out of the running and the club are keen to make an appointment early in the coming week.

Former Besiktas manager Slaven Bilic will have talks about the West Ham job with co-owner David Sullivan



Brazil legend Romario is the man to become the new FIFA president and force real root and branch reform of football's shamed world governing body.

Deluded Sepp Blatter, who announced he would stand down after serious allegations against FIFA officials of corruption, racketeering and bribery, emerged just days after he was ridiculously re-elected somehow thinking he can start the process of reform himself.

Really? Or has just been clinging to power in his office these last few days to operate the paper shredder and bury the bodies?

Former Brazil striker Romario could be the perfect man to replace Sepp Blatter as FIFA president 

Blatter heads for the exit door at FIFA's headquarters in Zurich after announcing his resignation on Tuesday

That so many officials and delegates stayed loyal to Blatter indicates that the corruption is a cancer that has spread across much of FIFA's body.

Only a completely new man can come in and revolutionise the regime.

Why Romario?

Well, he knows the game as one of the all-time great players.

And since retiring he has become a power figure in Brazilian politics constantly battling against corruption.

Indeed, he is part of a congressional probe into whether Nike and other sponsors influenced the selection of Brazil players since 1998.

A World Cup winner and Brazil's third highest all-time scorer behind Ronaldo and Pele, Romario would command instant respect of the decent football community around the world and he understands politics too.

And if he wanted a solid citizen and experienced football administrator alongside him there would be no better than former Manchester United chief executive David Gill.

Romario, pictured celebrating a goal for Brazil against Bolivia in 2000, won 70 caps for his country

David Gill, pictured shaking hands with Blatter during FIFA's 65th congress, could help Romario lead FIFA

He demonstrated his principles by resigning from his role at FIFA's top table as soon as Blatter was re-elected.

Gill is undoubtedly untarnished by the allegations so many FIFA officials face and would help guide Romario through the tangled web of FIFA's structure and also be a conduit with the powerful brokers in European club football and UEFA.

Interestingly, Romario was strong enough to say exactly what he thought about FIFA under Blatter when he wrote the foreword to a book called 'Omerta: Sepp Blatter's FIFA Organised Crime Family' written by journalist Andrew Jennings, who helped the FBI and the Swiss authorities make the moves which have exposed FIFA and brought Blatter down.

It's time football was run by a real football man interested in the good of the game and its fans, not the greed of bureaucrats.

It would be apt if it was Brazilian who restored faith in the 'beautiful game' rather than the bribery game it became in the Blatter years.

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