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Default Football transfer rumours: Asamoah Gyan to swap Sunderland for Madrid? | Simon Burnton

Today's rumours don't like to talk about their charity work

The day's top sporting headline in the Sun concerns Sir Alex Ferguson's decision to ban his players from sporting snoods. "They're for powder puffs," he is alleged to have roared at his startled squad as they shivered neck-warmerlessly in Lancashire's icy wastelands this week, adding: "Real men don't wear things like that."

Former Leeds United ace Norman Hunter, the type of guy newspapers tend to think of when they need to speak to a real man, said: "We didn't even wear gloves. We played in a lot worse conditions than they play in now – ice, snow, mud, everything. We used to rub Algipan oil all over. That kept us warm."

Elsewhere, Robin van Persie's wife, Bouchra, has created her own warm glow by the simple expedient of giving lots of money to poor people, having set up a charity to help Wags give their cash away. "The feeling you get from buying an expensive handbag lasts for a few seconds. The feeling you get from giving to those less fortunate lasts for ever," philosophised the Arsenal man's other half.

Thomas Vermaelen's wife Aimee van Ommen added: "We are able to lead a totally normal life. He likes fast cars but other than that we try to live our lives normally. It's such a good feeling to give and it's so important to do it when you have so much." Mrs Cesc Fábregas, otherwise known as Carla Dona Garcia, lastworded: "It's all about helping children. It's an amazing feeling to be able to do that."

It's not just football's womenfolk who have such beautifully pure motivation. Take Bolton's twinkle-toad goal-grabber Johan Elmander, for example. "I have never been a player who goes after money, I have always chosen with my heart," he brings-a-tear-to-my-eyed, before getting back to business by adding: "I will give myself fully to Bolton while I am here and when my contract runs out in the summer, we'll see what happens."

In the day's shock transfer news, Asamoah Gyan emerged as a surprise target for Real Madrid as they seek someone to replace the permacrocked Gonzalo Higuaín. Also on José Mourinho's striking shortlist are Werder Bremen's Hugo Almeida, Wolfsburg's Edin Dzeko and Manchester City's wantaway Emmanuel Adebayor.

Fulham are all set to take a good look at Mexican international goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa when he comes on trial, with the possibility of a bargain basement January deal for the Club America stopper as his contract tick-tocks to oblivion. The bad news is that Mark Hughes looks likely to lose his figurative armwrestle with Blackburn's Sam Allardyce for the services of David Bentley.

Back to goalkeepers, then, and highly-rated Atlético Madrid shot-stopper David De Gea is dreaming of Old Trafford. "I know Sir Alex Ferguson has watched me already," he said. "After this season we will look at what happens. I owe Atletico everything and I would love to stay, but on the other hand Manchester United are a great club."

West Ham want Joey Barton to lead them out of the relegation mire and are mulling over a £3m January bid. Another London-bound midfielder is Partizan Belgrade's 21-year-old Serbian international Radoslav Petrovic, whose agent is trying to find an English buyer and appears to have struck predictable paydirt in the shape of Tottenham's Harry Redknapp.

Aston Villa's Curtis Davies is a popular man, featuring as he does on the shopping lists at Werder Bremen, Bolton, Wolves, Leicester and Stoke, who have had to give up on a permanent deal for Jermaine Pennant because of Real Zaragoza's price tag. "He won't be coming to Stoke for £6m, it's just ridiculous. It's too much money," Tony Pulis correctly deduced.

Everton want £2m Barnsley winger Adam Hammill, while Nottingham Forest hope an identical fee could prise striker Steve Morison from Millwall. In other news from outside the Premier League, QPR want Swindon pair Sean Morrison and Charlie Austin, while Roy Keane has hired a psychologist in an attempt to arrest Ipswich's dismal decline. "The Championship can be mental," he said.

Simon Burnton

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