The following is a roundup of soccer stories from U.K. newspapers, with clickable links to the Web.
Ajax midfielder Christian Eriksen rejected a new contract with the Dutch club, setting up a chase between Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham and Manchester City, the Daily Mail said.
The 20-year-old’s contract expires in 2014 and he will probably move to develop his career, according to Ajax technical director Marc Overmars, the newspaper said. While Liverpool has been linked to the player, its crowded midfield may mean Eriksen considers other options, the Mail said.
Aston Villa midfielder Stephen Ireland is training with the team’s teenagers after a disappointing performance in the League Cup exit to Bradford City, the Daily Telegraph said.
Manager Paul Lambert signed two new midfielders last month and now Ireland can’t make the first-team squad, the newspaper said.
Ireland earns about 55,000 pounds ($86,000) a week after joining from Manchester City in 2010, the Telegraph said. He has 18 months left on his contract.
Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez said he doesn’t mind if supporters boo him, and said the reaction may be helping motivate members of the squad, the Daily Mirror said.
Billionaire owner Roman Abramovich brought in the Spaniard to try to shore up the team’s position in the league and the Champions League. Benitez may be replaced at the end of the season, with Borussia Dortmund’s Juergen Klopp and Everton’s David Moyes candidates to take over, the Mirror said.
The 52-year-old said Chelsea’s players are enjoying his practices and booing may give them more incentive to show the training is improving the squad, the newspaper said.
Brighton manager Gus Poyet may be lined up to replace West Ham’s Sam Allardyce should the Hammers fail to cement a place in the Premier League, the Mirror said.
Allardyce’s contract ends at the end of the season, and West Ham co-chairman David Gold said talks won’t open until West Ham is certain to stay up, the newspaper said.
West Ham is considering Poyet as well as Watford’s Gianfranco Zola, the Mirror said.
Liverpool may bid for Malaga’s Manuel Iturra to beef up its attack, the Daily Express said.
Malaga is under pressure to cut costs and may accept an offer of 3 million pounds for the player, who is looking to leave, the newspaper said.