There is, of course, only one place to start our round-up of hard-hitting football gossiping this morning.
It’s at West Ham, where speculation mounts that veteran centre-back James Collins may not be offered a one-year contract extension to his current deal.
Not really – it’s at Arsenal, where every manager and his dog is being tipped to succeed Arsene Wenger as his 87-year spell at the helm officially draws to a close.
Some of them were already being tipped to succeed the venerable Frenchman before he announced his imminent exit, such as Luis Enrique.
READ MORE: Arsene Wenger’s all-time Arsenal XI
The Mail says the former Barcelona coach is “available” and “primed” and “set to” take over at the Emirates as soon as they’ve cleared out Wenger’s office. Negotiations between club and manager are already “well advanced” and only an “unexpected glitch” can prevent the appointment.
In short, the Mail are adamant it’s Enrique. Although this is the same paper that declared two days ago that Wenger would under no circumstances be leaving.
The Mirror is keeping more of an open mind, claiming the Gunners have drawn up a “shortlist” of men that includes Germany manager Joachim Low, Juventus boss Max Allegri, Monaco’s Leonardo Jardim and Celtic’s Brendan goddamn Rodgers, as well as former club captains Patrick Vieira and Mikel Arteta as riskier alternatives.
READ MORE: Where next for Arsene Wenger after Arsenal?
The unemployed Carlo Ancelotti has also thrown his hat in into the ring (not that he ordinarily wears a hat, so it seems unusual that he was wearing one yesterday – especially in that heat) with the Standard reporting that he would “warmly receive” any approach from north London.
Wenger ‘in talks with PSG’
And what about dear old Arsene himself?
The Times says he was “upset” at the manner of his departure, and only made yesterday’s announcement he would be leaving because it was clear the Gunners board would sack him if he didn’t. If it had truly been up to Wenger, the paper says he would have stayed for another season at least.
It’s perhaps no surprise, then, that he is reportedly hungry to get a new job in football as soon as possible.
The Telegraph says he could end up at former club Monaco, or replacing Sam Allardyce at Everton. The Sun says he is set to “open talks” with Paris Saint-Germain and could find himself back in the Champions League next season.
Goal concurs that the 68-year-old is seeking an “immediate return” to the game but is more likely to take over a national side. Wonder if he fancies taking England to a World Cup in a couple of months?
Sorry for being silly earlier with that thing about James Collins, by the way. A pointless waste of your time, that was.
Elsewhere, in news that isn’t about Arsene Wenger, Real Madrid are preparing a “big sum” to take Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski to the Bernabeu (Sky Sports), PSG are “suspicious” that Neymar is trying to engineer a summer move to the same destination (Mail) and West Brom winger Nacer Chadli will be available for a “cut-price £17m” if and when the Baggies get relegated (Sun). Yes, you did read that right: Nacer Chadli – who has made three Premier League appearances this season – will be available for a “cut-price” £17m. Go ahead – read it again, it won’t change. That’s really what it says.