The following is a roundup of soccer stories from U.K. newspapers, with clickable links to the Web.
Former Blackburn striker Alan Shearer is the most-likely candidate to replace Steve Kean as the Premier League team’s coach, the Daily Mail reported.
Team owner Venky’s is deciding whether to fire Kean now or hand him a final chance in tomorrow’s “basement battle” with Bolton, according to the Mail.
The Daily Mirror said Graeme Souness could return as Blackburn coach and former Chelsea manager Avram Grant is another possible replacement for Kean.
Gaitan to United
Benfica’s Argentina midfielder Nicolas Gaitan is set to join Manchester United at the end of the season for 35 million euros ($45.6 million), according to the Independent.
The 23-year-old has a 45 million-euro release clause in his contract but United has refused to meet it, the newspaper said. Benfica will have to pay about 15 percent of the fee to an investment fund which part-owns the transfer fee rights, and 20 percent to Gaitan’s former club Boca Juniors, the Independent said.
Queens Park Rangers may sign Glasgow Rangers striker Nikica Jelavic for 7 million pounds ($10.9 million) in the January transfer window, the Daily Mirror reported.
Sunderland coach Martin O’Neill also has Jelavic on a short-list of potential acquisitions, the Mirror said.
Aston Villa plans to bid for 21-year-old Barnsley captain Jacob Butterfield next month, the Daily Mirror reported, adding the midfielder would cost about 2 million pounds.
According to the Sun, Glasgow Rangers midfielder Steven Davis could return to Villa for the same fee, four years after he left the Birmingham-based club.
Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon faces several weeks without playing because of a hamstring injury, the Daily Telegraph reported.
Spurs face an “anxious wait” over whether Gareth Bale, Jermain Defoe and Ledley King will be ready for a game against Chelsea on Dec. 22, the Telegraph said.