Sheikh-up at Eastlands as Mourinho is tipped to replace Sparky while Elano is set for the exit

Comment & analysis round-up

Quote of the day: “We would have to sell someone if we decided to bring someone in to balance the situation, but at this stage we are not planning to bring someone in. Much has been made about the restructuring of the scouting network. This was part of a normal review. We wanted a more targeted approach. What we are doing at Chelsea is what almost every other business must be doing in the financial climate. We are not immune.” – Peter Kenyon.

Runner-up: “I believe that the pride in sport is that if you have the quality you play. If it was my son and he wasn’t good enough, he could never play at Arsenal. I have always fought for that. You have the example of Barack Obama in the States – that is one of the countries where if you have the quality you will make it.”- Arsene Wenger.

Today’s overview: There is confusion this Tuesday surrounding the affairs at Manchester City, with conflicting reports over the stability of Mark Hughes’ tenure as well as a variety of lists naming different players all heading for the chop.

Mark Hughes is safe in his job after receiving the dreaded vote of confidence, according to Daniel Taylor. However this consensus opinion is thrown into doubt by the Sun’s Ian McGarry, who claims “Manchester City will offer Jose Mourinho an astonishing £15 million a year to take over as boss… And SunSport can reveal that third parties have already taken soundings about the move and have received a positive response.”

Heading for the door, Daniel Taylor notes that “Elano Blumer has been identified as a potential troublemaker” while “it will be no surprise that Felipe Caicedo and Nery Castillo will leave in January, or that Darius Vassell, Javier Garrido, Michael Ball and Nedum Onuoha will be available to potential buyers, but City’s supporters will be dismayed to learn that Hughes has also come to think of Micah Richards as a poor trainer.” A slightly different list is provided by Ian Herbert, with Elano being tipped to leave alongside “Nedum Onouha, midfield anchor Dietmar Hamann and Darius Vassell as well as Javier Garrido – who has looked out of his depth since Sven Goran Eriksson signed him – and Michael Ball.”

Jo is likely to have his name attached to those tipped for the boot after Ian Layman reported “the Brazilian jeopardised his recovery from tonsillitis with a late-night visit to a city centre nightclub… He failed to show for training the next day after calling in sick.”

Mark Tallentire and Dominic Fifield join forces to report on the imminent takeover of Portsmouth by “a consortium of South African executives led by the head of one of its largest gold-mining companies.” For Oliver Kay, should the takeover come to fruition then Tony Adams’ position will be in jeopardy, “potential managerial targets would include Avram Grant, who served as director of football at Portsmouth before his spell as first-team coach at Chelsea, and Slaven Bilic, the Croatia head coach.”

With the FA’s Respect campaign on it’s knees, Matt Lawton reports that “the League Managers’ Association will call for the resignation of Keith Hackett if their demands [to have a a seat on the refereeing board] are not met when they meet the referees’ chief this week.” Managerial frustration is understandable, and has existed as long as sheepskin coats, but it comes to something when there is unease at a campaign with no other agenda than asking for decent behaviour.”

Other articles doing the rounds include Bill Edgar on Darren Bent’s chance of an England call up for the friendly against Germany, Sam Wallace continues to ask why Chelsea fail to blood their youngsters in the Carling Cup, and keeping with the Blues, Ian Wright goes into hyperbolic overdrive saying that Chelsea’s capture of Nicolas Anelka “could prove to be a touch of genius” before reliving wonderfully graphic memories at Arsenal when “he’d always sit there, looking at me, pretending he was about to give me a one-fingered salute by winding up his middle finger.”

The Guardian’s writers pool together their European weekend rounds. Sid Lowe focuses on Osasuna, who have only netted three goals all season, asking are they the worst side in Europe. On matters Italian, Paolo Bandini looks at how Sinisa Mihajlovic’s managerial career began at Bologna. And Leander Schaerlaeckens finds himself heaping praise on one Steve McClaren, whose “improbable success with FC Twente is undeniable.”

Finally, described as “one of the best centre forwards of his generation,” Oliver Kay has an exclusive interview with Andrew Cole on his decision to retire from football yesterday. Cole: “I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve lived the dream.”