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Unread 24-02-2010, 11:40 AM
fred tissue
Default Football transfer rumours: David Villa to Manchester United?

Today's guff is, like, so high fashion

February can be such an empty, listless time for the Mill. It's a month the Mill usually spends wandering aimlessly around the tabloid periphery, unwanted, almost invisible, and feeling more than anything else a bit like
: a moping, gangly, largely overlooked figure in beige drainpipes and a nylon sweater. Here comes the Mill again, a bubble-permed irrelevance mooning helplessly at its post-window tabloid muse, longing for just a glance, a snippet, a quick grope, or maybe something about Nikola Zigic going to Bolton.

Occasionally, however, the moment comes when the Mill finds itself being ushered breathlessly along campus corridors, heart already bursting as it finds itself confronted with the newspaper gossip equivalent of a lovingly fashioned clay replica of the Mill's own severed head. And rather than rushing forward to dash it from its pedestal and gouge its peaty eyes out, this morning the Mill finds itself cowed into an awed and grateful submission at the back of the pottery suite as it mouths the words "Hello, Ashley Cole".

Reporting the very sad news that Cheryl Cole has decided seek a divorce, The Sun has decided to go with "ASHLEY BEGGED: LET ME DO SEX REHAB".

Apparently Cole phoned his wife up a lot asking her to forgive him, but "Cheryl refused to answer any of the calls and they went straight to voicemail.

"She was with Derek ["handsome dancer" fellow who is a bit camp] at the time talking about her future. Cheryl was talking constantly and thinking everything through.

"One minute she was really upbeat, feeling strong and positive about a new life on her own."

Which all sounds terrible, particularly the bit about "talking constantly", while poor old handsome Derek was being forced to listen to Ashley's crackly voice in the background saying things like "let me do sex rehab".

Cheryl's "21-word statement signalling the end of the marriage" is described as "curt and unloving" (rather than, say, gushing and affectionate). "Its tone was a stark contrast to beaming Cheryl's TV ad for L'Oreal's Elvive hair restorer which she ends chirpily with the cosmetics company's catchphrase: "Because we're worth it."," the Sun notes darkly, becoming confused about adverts and real life.

Meanwhile, back in the mournful corridor-plodding world of actual February football rumours the Daily Mirror claims "Manchester United are ready to make a new move for Spanish hotshot David Villa – if he goes up for sale at Valencia in the summer." There are some problems though. He's too expensive. He wants to stay in Spain. And he's too old.

Neil Warnock has given QPR a list of Crystal Palace players he wants to bring to Loftus Road, including Darren Ambrose, Neil Danns and teenage defender Nathaniel Clyne. Gareth Southgate and the oddly smooth-skinned Steve Coppell who looks like a very sad and tearful and long-suffering new-born baby are the "frontrunners" to take over. Adriano, still at Flamengo, wants to come back to Europe, but not to Roma. "I have never made choices in my life for money, so I would not return to Europe unless I felt I was playing well enough," he said, taking a bite of scotch egg.

In the Daily Mail, Manchester City are refusing to meet the contract demands of Shaun Wright-Phillips. Football administrator Brian Marwood has been "taken aback" by how much he wants. Wright-Phillips is already on £80,000-a-week.

Glenn Hoddle is being lined up to become the new manager of Nigeria in time for the World Cup. Hoddle has flown to Lagos to discuss them things. The sticking point is whether he can take time off from his "academy" in Jerez, which obviously won't work out but does give him the chance to stride around in a tracksuit doing show-off keepy-uppies and having tedious, chin-stroking chats with impressionable young men.

Birmingham are "monitoring" Red Bull Salzburg striker Marc Janko using a series of coloured bar charts. Janko has scored 67 goals in 92 games for Salzburg and is 6ft 5in tall.

Marcos Senna wants Cesc Fábregas to play in La Liga because it "would be very good for us all, for the fans because he is a great player with great quality".

And Jamie O'Hara has had a fight with Michael Brown during training at Portsmouth. "One player said: 'It was all over pretty quickly. Brown had been flying in with a few challenges and he just caught O'Hara with a nasty one. It was a possible leg-breaker. O'Hara just snapped and punched him. He didn't take any messing.'"

Back in the Sun Tony Adams has woken up with start and blurted out something about Arsène Wenger being "a magician with unrivalled powers".

"Arsène for me is a physiologist. He is a magician in that field, bio-mechanically assessing players, fitness or whether they are ready to play," he added, trying to take a single custard cream to dunk in his weak tea but overturning the sugar bowl and being gently led to one side to have a bit of a blow and maybe Nigel could put the television on for a bit while everybody calms down.

Neil Warnock will still be Palace manager on Saturday. He said: "I am seeing my best mate at a hotel in Doncaster on Friday – I've made the reservation. We have got to stay up and gear ourselves for that match." Interesting. Neil Warnock has a "best mate". According to Goal.com the Kansas City Wizards have released Claudio Lopez, who scored 13 goals in two years in the MLS. "We thank Claudio for his two years of service here in Kansas City. He was a consummate professional," said an overly cheerful American man in a suit with a violently assertive handshake. And Yaya Touré is staying at Barcelona. Arsenal and Man City were supposedly sniffing around. Touré has been left out in favour of Sergi Busquets recently. "Busquets is a great player, he knows the game plan perfectly and is very smart on the field, he just needs a little progress physically," he said, adopting an intimidatory muscle pose and making a "gnnnnh" noise.

Barney Ronay

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