Man United & Man City target Iniesta after he rejects Barcelona contract [Sunday Star]

Slapped with the predictable “EXCLUSIVE” headline, the Star on Sunday claim to have the inside scoop on Manchester United and Manchester City’s next top transfer target.

According to Paul Hetherington, who daren’t not be believed:

Andres Iniesta has put Manchester United AND City on alert by rejecting a new contract at Barcelona.

United boss David Moyes, who takes his side to the Etihad today for the Manchester derby, has been trying to sign a playmaker. And City already have close links to Iniesta through Sporting Director Txiki Begiristain.

The Story in the Star builds on last week’s reports in Marca that confirmed Andres Iniesta rejected the first offer of a contract extension made by Barcelona. Marca added:

Barça offered the player a salary of €12 million gross plus €3million in add-ons. However, one week on and negotiations continue. It seems both parties want the player to remain at the club beyond 2015, when his current contract expires, but they still seem far from reaching a deal – around €5 million off, MARCA has been informed.

Iniesta is not concerned about becoming one of Barça’s top earners, but merely wants to feel the club can fulfil his expectations. The midfielder is said to be after a figure of around €17 million gross, plus bonuses for the various objectives he achieves.

The backpage of the Star on Sunday is below.

Jose Mourinho trolls Ruud Gullit in his Chelsea presser: “He shouldn’t be a very proud manager”

Jose was spitting fire on Saturday night.

Mourinho came into the West London derby under pressure from the press, as the Champions League defeat to Basel had rendered Chelsea’s start as the worst in the club’s history in a decade.

Mourinho then chose to leave Juan Mata out of his match day squad against Fulham, and that lead to a barrage of criticism which only grew louder as the goalless first half played out.

After Chelsea won 2-0 Mourinho was only too happy to talk about his Mata decision, first trolling Jamie Redknapp live on Sky Sports.

Later, in his private meeting with journalists from the English press, Mourinho went after Rudd Gullit too.

Ruud Gullit is a different pundit because he was also a manager. And I think he shouldn’t be a very proud manager for what he did in the last few years. So I don’t want to comment. 

Watch Jose Mourinho slam Ruud Gullit below.

David Moyes says Wayne Rooney “had gone a bit soft” at Man United [Sunday Telegraph]

The Sunday Telegraph splash their backpage with yet another Wayne Rooney headline likely to stir up discussion ahead of Sunday’s Manchester derby.

Journalist Jason Burt reports on the new MUTV interview with Manchester United boss David Moyes ahead of the match at the Etihad, in which the Scottish boss discussed how Rooney had suffered last season.

David Moyes has admitted that he believed Wayne Rooney had “gone a bit soft” after letting his standards at Manchester United slip last season.

The United manager said he and his coaching staff had done “quite a lot of work” on Rooney and Robin van Persie on the training ground in the hope of developing a “lethal” partnership.

Moyes also admitted to MUTV… that he had misgivings about Rooney when he succeeded Sir Alex Ferguson in the summer. “When I came I thought he had to get back to being a bit nmore aggressive. We are challenging him to be that.”

A copy of the backpage of the Sunday Telegraph is below.

Eriksen & Chiriches sing at Spurs initiation ceremony [Kyle Walker Instagram video]

The large collection of Tottenham signings this summer would have good reason to be a little annoyed with Kyle Walker.

As is the case with many clubs, new Spurs players have to sing a song on the eve of their first away game and Walker posted an Instagram video of Etienne Capoue and Paulinho going through their numbers ahead of the win at Crystal Palace.

On Saturday night, with Tottenham set for their match against Cardiff on Sunday, the England full back has publicised how Christian Eriksen and Vlad Chiriches got on with their initiation ceremony.

Now we await the efforts from Erik Lamela, Roberto Soldado and Nacer Chadli…

Related link: Lewis Holtby & Andros Townsend prank a sleeping Jordan Archer on Spurs plane to Cardiff.

Leighton Baines: I scored 2 at West Ham because Ozzie took me out his Fantasy team!

“Ozzie took me out of his Fantasy team because I wasn’t doing enough. So I told him I’d score 2. True to me word!” – Leighton Baines.

Premier League footballers don’t spend all week preparing their Fantasy Football teams like us do they?!

It would appear that Everton’s Leon Osman does and he even dropped Leighton Baines before the England full back bagged two Golazo free-kicks at West Ham today.

Doh!

Skip to 1:00 for a rather chuffed Baines discussing Leon Osman dropping him from his Fantasy team!

Related link: Leighton Baines scores 2 brilliant free-kicks for Everton in win at West Ham [GIFs & videos].

Shock, Horror! Rayo Vallecano became the 1st team to beat Barcelona in possession since 2008

One of the great Barcelona stats has been consigned to the history books.

Despite trouncing Rayo Vallecano 4-0 away from home on Saturday night, the Catalans lost one crucial statistic against the Franjirrojos.

Barcelona lost a match on possession stats for the first time since 2008. Rayo won the contest 55% to 45% (as recorded by WhoScored.com).

Many Barcelona watchers have been quick to get the details on ending of one of the great football stats of recent years, and the best tweets can be read below.

Lewis Holtby & Andros Townsend prank a sleeping Jordan Archer on Spurs plane to Cardiff

The advent of social networks has seen countless pictures of footballers pranking a sleeping team mate.

On Saturday it was the turn of Spurs keeper Jordan Archer, on his way to Cardiff with the Tottenham squad for their Premier League clash with Cardiff on Sunday.

Subsequently, winger Andros Townsend posted the picture below on his Twitter account and Tottenham midfielder Lewis Holtby added the image to his Facebook account.

Presumably, Jordan Archer is only going along as Spurs’ third choice keeper so can afford to be a little fatigued!

Horror challenge in Scottish amateur football as a player is laid out by a boot to the face

An outrageously bad foul was recorded in the Scottish Junior non-league on Saturday.

Sauchie beat Bonnyrigg 4-1 away from home, and the visitors were helped when the hosts were reduced to ten men for an indefensible red card in the first half.

With the scores level at 1-1, Paul Currie of Bonnyrigg laid out Sauchie’s Darren Cummings with a horrific boot to the face.

Watch the shocking foul below.

Jose Mourinho Trolls Jamie Redknapp for asking about Juan Mata post Chelsea 2 – Fulham 0

“The Chelsea Manger is Jose Mourinho not Jamie Redknapp” – Jose Mourinho.

Jose Mourinho is bristling and the centre of his ire is the press who keep going on about his omission of Juan Mata from the Chelsea first team, with the Spanish playmaker not even in the squad for the visit of Fulham today.

After three successive defeats and the oft repeated stat that this is the worst start to a season under Roman Abramovich, Mourinho was afforded some breathing room with a fairly unconvincing 2-0 home victory over Fulham.

And, after the game, Mourinho fronted up to the Sky Sports panel, which included Jamie Redknapp and Ruud Gullit, as he explained why Mata was omitted and what the Spaniard has to do to get into his side.

Dropping Juan Mata, as Mourinho explains, as he feels the Spaniard does not work hard enough in the number 10 position defensively, seems very harsh.

But, if Chelsea can win some tough away games coming up then Mata will quickly get forgotten. That’s if the Spaniard can’t work his way back into the first team, starting with Swindon in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday.

First video below is Jose Mourinho Trolling Jamie Redknapp followed by the whole lengthy discussion after Chelsea 2 – Fulham 0.