Arsene Wenger gave the clearest indication yet this week that he will extend his Arsenal reign beyond next summer.
Following a ringing personal endorsement from club owner Stan Kroenke, the Frenchman said that he expected talks on a new deal to be "straightforward".
The Sweeper can reveal that Mesut Ozil was given assurances by Arsenal chiefs that Wenger would be staying on at the Emirates Stadium when he was negotiating his club-record €50 million move from Real Madrid in August.
Ozil's admiration for Wenger and his methods was a major factor in the Germany playmaker transferring from the Santiago Bernabeu to north London.
The 24-year-old has subsequently admitted that the Gunners boss persuaded him in a series of conversations before his deadline-day move that signing for Arsenal would be a sensible career move.
Wenger began talks with the club in the summer about extending his contract and it is understood that a deal is expected to be agreed within the next few months.
- Wayne Veysey
BALE DEAL SAW SIGURDSSON'S SUNDERLAND MOVE COLLAPSE
Gylfi Sigurdsson scored for Tottenham in their 1-1 against Chelsea on Saturday but the Iceland international could have been playing for strugglers Sunderland if not for Gareth Bale's world-record move to Madrid.
The Black Cats were ready to pay €12m to sign Sigurdsson and advanced talks were held over a deal to take the 24-year-old to the Stadium of Light.
However, Sigurdsson is represented by Stellar Group, whose chiefs had their hands tied in the complex €100m transfer that took Bale to Real Madrid and was only completed on the final day of the window.
- Greg Stobart
DEMPSEY SET ON EUROPEAN RETURN
Clint Dempsey intends to return to Europe on loan next season - and could even play again for Tottenham, The Sweeper has learned.
The American midfielder moved from Spurs to Seattle Sounders during the summer in a €7.1m transfer but hopes for a loan switch at the end of the MLS season.
The likes of David Beckham, Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan have all completed successful winter loans and Dempsey is keen to follow the same path.
Tottenham, however, have first option on a January loan deal for Dempsey for the duration of his contract, which expires in 2016.
Given the Londoners' start to the season, however, it is unlikely that they will look to bring the 30-year-old back to the club despite his contribution last season, when he scored 12 goals in 43 appearances.
- Greg Stobart
EVERTON WANT BARRY FOR KEEPS
|CAREER IN NUMBERS
Gareth Barry will be offered a permanent deal by Everton next summer.
The midfielder is currently on a 12-month loan at Goodison Park, with parent club Manchester City picking up around half of his €143,000-a-week wages.
However, Everton and boss Roberto Martinez have already seen enough from him - both on and off the pitch, in terms of his fitness data - to consider it a sound investment.
The Toffees are also fearful the former England mainstay, 32, will be major target for clubs at the end of the season when he becomes a free agent.
Everton cannot get close to his existing wages but plan a lucrative signing-on fee plus additional bonuses. Barry is also settled in the Cheshire area with a young family.
- Paul Clennam
CITY FANS FACING TRAVEL CHAOS
Manchester City fans are facing an anxious wait ahead of their side's trip to face CSKA Moscow in October, with the hosts potentially set to move the fixture 400 miles from the Russian capital.
Severe weather conditions and high number of fixtures have forced CSKA to switch their upcoming Champions League clash with Viktoria Plzen from their usual home ground the Khimki Arena to Zenit St Petersburg's Petrovsky stadium, with the pitch currently unfit for use.
And City fans, 800 of whom already travelled nearly 1000 miles to the Czech Republic for their side's 3-0 win over Plzen earlier in September, have been left in the dark as to where the CSKA fixture will take place, leaving their travel plans in chaos.
"The pitch conditions are of deep concern and even panic for me," CSKA's club manager, Leonid Slutsky, told Sport Express earlier in September.
"There have been too many matches played at the arena in recent days and unfortunately we were unable to change the situation."
- Paul Clennam