The following is a roundup of soccer stories from U.K. newspapers, with clickable Internet links.
Atletico Madrid will block attempts to lure Radamel Falcao to the Premier League in January after Roberto Mancini signaled Manchester City’s interest in the striker with a personal scouting mission, the Daily Telegraph reported.
Chelsea is said to be the favorite to win the race to sign the 26-year-old Falcao, who scored his eighth goal in six La Liga matches this season two days ago in front of City manager Mancini, the newspaper added.
“We know that Mancini has come to watch, but we are calm on the subject of Falcao,” the Telegraph cited Atletico President Enrique Cerezo as saying.
Frank Lampard will be offered 250,000 pounds ($401,000) a week to join former Chelsea teammate Didier Drogba in the Chinese Super League, the Sun reported.
The England midfielder is wanted by Drogba’s club, Shanghai Shenhua, and its Super League rival Beijing Guoan, the newspaper said. Lampard, 34, will be a free agent when his Blues contract finishes at the end of the season, the Sun added.
Arsenal is a “serious contender” to sign Crystal Palace’s 19-year-old Wilfried Zaha, who could eventually replace Theo Walcott, the Daily Mail reported.
Former assistant manager Pat Rice, who still works for the Gunners, watched the 12 million pound-rated forward score twice in Palace’s 4-3 win against Burnley on Oct. 6, the Mail added.
Liverpool is the favorite to sign Torino defender Angelo Ogbonna and had scouts watch the 24-year-old play against Cagliari two days ago, the Sun reported.
Ogbonna, who may cost 16 million pounds to sign, has also been watched by Manchester United and Everton, the Sun added.
England manager Roy Hodgson can decide whether Ashley Cole plays in this week’s World Cup qualifier against San Marino after the Football Association ruled out banning the left-back for criticizing the governing body on Twitter, the Guardian reported.