TIDYING UP ALL THE LOOSE STORIES IN FOOTBALL THIS WEEK
UNITED BEAT RIVALS TO POWELL SIGNING
The Sweeper has learned that Manchester United beat Liverpool, Tottenham and Fulham in the race to sign wonderkid Nick Powell from Crewe Alexandra.
The 18-year-old forward signed a four-year contract with the Red Devils last week having helped Crewe secure promotion to League One following a play-off final win over Cheltenham.
It is understood that the Premier League trio all offered around the £2 million mark for the teenage sensation but were out-bid by United, who will pay £2m plus performance-related add-ons that could stretch the final deal beyond £4m.
Crewe began rebuffing enquiries from top-tier clubs for Powell at the start of the year but caved in when it became clear that the England Under-18 international made it known that he wanted to move to Old Trafford.
Despite the interest from Sir Alex Ferguson's side, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City all closely watched Powell but decided that the young playmaker was not right for them.
ALL QUIET ON DEMPSEY FRONT
Clint Dempsey has made no secret of his desire to play for an established Champions League club.
But despite publicly highlighting his ambitions last month, the American has failed to incite a stampede to Craven Cottage.
The Sweeper has been told that there has been "no concrete interest" in the 29-year-old despite his personal record haul of 17 league goals last season.
PLEAT IN SCOUTING ROLE FOR SPURS
David Pleat has discovered his fair share of gems for Tottenham during an off-on association that stretches back nearly three decades.
His latest find to follow in the footsteps of Michael Dawson, Aaron Lennon and Tom Huddlestone is centre-half Jamaal Lascelles, who, as Goal.com revealed last week, is on the verge of joining Tottenham from Nottingham Forest in a buy-to-loan deal.
Pleat has recommended Lascelles, who is 18 and has made only a single appearance for the Forest first team, to Spurs in his role as an unofficial youth scout.
The former Tottenham manager and director of football, who stood down from a consultancy role with Championship outfit Forest last October, has maintained a good relationship with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy despite leaving the club in 2004 when Jacques Santini was appointed.
Pleat, who is working at Euro 2012 as a pundit for Radio Five, fits his part-time role for the club around his media duties.
BOULD DOUBTS OVER ARSENAL HOT-SHOT
In theory, Steve Bould's promotion from Arsenal youth team manager to Arsene Wenger's No.2 should benefit the young players he has helped develop at the club.
But it might not turn out that way for 19-year-old striker Benik Afobe, who is regarded as one of the outstanding prospects at Emirates Stadium.
An Arsenal source has told The Sweeper that Bould "has reservations" about Afobe, who is said to be difficult to handle.
Afobe himself, however, is less concerned. Tweeting in response to this article, the frontman wrote: "I get on very well with everyone! Never had a problem with anyone in the 12 years that I've been here."