TIDYING UP ALL THE LOOSE STORIES IN FOOTBALL THIS WEEK
By Wayne Veysey and Greg Stobart
BUTLAND ON MANCHESTER CITY'S RADAR BUT MANCINI COOL ON VALDES
Birmingham City goalkeeper Jack Butland has become used to attention from Premier League clubs since his impressive display for Team GB during the Olympics.
Almost every week, a different scout from the top flight is in the stands to watch the 19-year-old, with Liverpool believed to be strongly considering a bid.
Manchester City are the latest club to show an interest as they look to bolster their goalkeeping options and add competition for Joe Hart.
The prospect of having to compete with Hart for a first-team place would probably lead Butland to reject a move to the Etihad Stadium, but Birmingham’s financial troubles mean he is likely to be playing for a new club by the start of next season.
While City are actively searching for new goalkeepers, The Sweeper understands that Roberto Mancini will not be making a bid for Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes, despite reports in Spain to the contrary.
HARRY’S BATTLE TO RESTORE DRESSING ROOM SPLIT BETWEEN HAVES AND HAVE-NOTS
Harry Redknapp will need all his talismanic qualities to overturn QPR’s disastrous start to the season and keep the club in the Premier League.
One of the priorities of the renowned man-manager will be to restore some harmony to a dressing room divided between the haves and have-nots.
The Sweeper understands that the split is principally between the players who were integral to the club’s promotion campaign two seasons ago and those who have been parachuted in on vastly superior wages to establish QPR as a top-tier outfit.
Longer-serving players like Jamie Mackie, Clint Hill, Shaun Derry and Hogan Ephraim are believed to earn between £8,000-£15,000-a-week.
By comparison, Rangers’ top bracket of earners, the majority of whom were signed in the last two transfer windows in the wake of the Tony Fernandes-led takeover in August 2011, earn £60,000-£70,000-a-week.
What is said to be particularly galling for those signed by Neil Warnock when Rangers were unable to offer Premier League-standard salaries is the relative underperformance of those earning big bucks.
Joining Joey Barton, whose salary is partly funded by his club Marseille, on monster wages are Bobby Zamora, Jose Bosingwa, Nedum Onuoha and Shaun Wright-Phillips.
None of these big earners are first-team regulars or likely to be heavily relied upon by Redknapp in the battle that lies ahead.
DE GEA'S MANCHESTER UNITED CAREER NOT THE ONLY THING VEERING OFF COURSE
David de Gea will take his place on the Manchester United bench for today’s clash against Reading at the Madejski Stadium.
But the United goalkeeper may need a lift home on his return to Manchester after crashing his Lamborghini this week.
The 22-year-old is in good company - the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani and Mario Balotelli have all totalled cars on the roads in the north west.
FRIMPONG’S WOLVES LOAN COLLAPSED DUE TO FITNESS AND WAGES
Emmanuel Frimpong was on the verge of a loan move to Wolves last month before it collapsed late in the day and he joined another Championship club, Charlton Athletic, instead.
Sources have told The Sweeper, that the Arsenal midfielder’s switch to Molineux fell through due both to concerns over his fitness and the portion of his salary that Wolves were willing to pay.
Frimpong, who began a loan spell at Wolves in the second half of last season only for it to be ended after five games because of a cruciate ligament injury to his right knee, is due to return to Emirates Stadium in January when his Charlton loan expires.
Wolves remain interested in buying the 20-year-old on a permanent basis and are ready to make a move in the forthcoming window if he proves his fitness at The Valley.
Although Frimpong has said he wants to stay at Arsenal, the club he has been at since he was nine have not yet offered him a new deal and there is a strong possibility that he will be offloaded.