The following is a roundup of soccer stories from U.K. newspapers, with clickable Internet links.
Madrid Monitors Zaha
Real Madrid is closely monitoring Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha, who was called up to the England squad this week, the Daily Mirror reported.
Real coach Jose Mourinho has sent scouts to check on the 20-year-old, who is valued at 20 million pounds ($31.7 million) and is also being courted by Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester City and Chelsea, the newspaper added.
Rio Ferdinand has told Manchester United there is no guarantee he will sign a new contract to continue playing next season after the club indicated that he’ll be offered a new 12-month deal, the Daily Mail reported.
Ferdinand, 34, has struggled with a back complaint in recent years and will take his time over the next few months before deciding whether to play on, the newspaper added.
Manchester City is ready to sell Mario Balotelli after the Italian striker went out partying 12 hours before the club’s last Premier League game, the Sun reported.
City manager Roberto Mancini will get the go ahead to make a club-record bid of 45 million pounds for Atletico Madrid’s Radamel Falcao if City can get back the 24 million pounds it paid for Balotelli in August 2010, the newspaper added.
Balotelli doesn’t want to leave City and has no intention of going back to Italy, the Guardian cited his agent, Mino Raiola, as saying.
Newcastle United is set to renew its interest in Lille’s Mathieu Debuchy in January after failing in its off-season pursuit of the France national team defender, the Daily Telegraph reported.
Newcastle managing director Derek Llambias is likely to return with a bid of 7 million pounds for the full-back, who remains keen on a switch to the Magpies, the newspaper added.