Press Watch: Parker will become a Chelsea player this week

Gray enters his final week in charge of Leeds United
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The Independent Football

Scott Parker, left out of the Charlton side at Everton on Saturday because manager Alan Curbishley believed he was not in the right frame of mind, will join Chelsea this week, according to the Sunday Mirror.

But, the paper says, he will cost the Stamford Bridge club £9m when they could have had him six months ago for £6m. Claudio Ranieri apparently wanted to buy the 23-year-old midfielder last summer and had a bid for that amount accepted, only for the club's new owner Roman Abramovich to veto the deal, claiming that Parker was not a big enough name. Now, after Charlton turned down £6m last week, the Russian insists that Parker must be signed.

The News of the World also believes that Chelsea are ready to part with more Abramovich cash to land the Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech from the French club Rennes for £7m but says they have disappointed Birmingham by declaring that they will wait until next summer before deciding whether Mikael Forsell's loan move to St Andrews can become permanent.

The Sunday People says Leeds will be forced this week to tell their caretaker manager Eddie Gray his days in charge are over. It reports that Gray, who does not possess the now mandatory coaching qualifications, was allowed to succeed Peter Reid only after the League Managers' Association granted Leeds a three-month dispensation, which expires this week. The club's coach Kevin Blackwell will reportedly take over.

Meanwhile, the England under-21 manager David Platt is in the running to be the next Southampton manager, according to the Mirror, which reckons Platt was on Rupert Lowe's shortlist before Stuart Gray was handed the job in 2001. However, the People reckons the former Leeds manager Reid is in line to take over should the current manager Gordon Strachan, planning a sabbatical from football at the end of this season, fail to see out his contract.

The Sunday Express says Fulham are looking towards Eidur Gudjohnsen as a potential replacement for their French striker Louis Saha. The People believes Manchester United will not pay more than £4m if they are to sign Mark Viduka from Leeds, who want £7m for the Australian striker, while the Express throws in an intriguing suggestion that the United manager Sir Alex Ferguson wants the highly-rated Leeds United teenager James Milner as part of his plans to build a new team of youngsters at Old Trafford.

While the News of the World says that David Beckham is urging Real Madrid to sign his England team-mate Nicky Butt from United, the People reckons Newcastle were put off a move for the unsettled midfielder when they worked out he would cost them £17m. United are said to want a £5m fee but that is less than half the amount Butt is allegedly demanding in wages - a five-year deal matching his current £45,000 a week.

Two other former United players, Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke, are set to be shown the door at Ewood Park in a summer clear-out, according to the News of the World, which reports that Blackburn Rovers are poised to reveal losses of £12m at their forthcoming annual meeting and have told their manager Graeme Souness he must cut the wage bill.

The People says the Rovers defender Martin Taylor will move to Birmingham City for £1.75m this week but the News of the World says Souness still has transfer targets, including the Wolves midfielder Alex Rae.