It seems that Claudio Ranieri had every reason to fear for his future after last week's supposedly inconclusive showdown talks with the Chelsea chief executive, Peter Kenyon. According to the Sunday Express, Kenyon has offered Ranieri's job to Porto's Jose Mourinho.
The Express, which also claims that the owner of Chelsea, Roman Abramovich, is ready to pay more than £50m to bring David Beckham to Stamford Bridge, says Kenyon will have further talks with Mourinho this week.
The Sunday Mirror teasingly runs a picture of Kenyon alongside the director of football at Ajax, Louis van Gaal, but doesn't mention until the fourth paragraph of the accompanying story that Chelsea want to set up a youth academy along the lines of the Ajax system. They say Ranieri's fate will be decided after Chelsea's Champions' League challenge comes to an end, with a £10m pay-off lined up to ensure that if the Italian goes, he does so quietly.
Meanwhile, the People says it is Chelsea's players who should be fearing for their futures. Their story claims the expensive members of the Stamford Bridge dressing room have been warned that almost no one is safe should the club end the season trophy-less. Only Frank Lampard and John Terry are said to be secure after putting in a string of outstanding performances and by Abramovich's conviction that the core of his team should be English.
The News of the World says Chelsea's summer targets include the Monaco captain, Ludovic Giuly, who will be playing against them in tomorrow night's semi-final of the Champions' League. Porto's Maniche Ribeiro is another being looked at.
Arsenal are making plans for a title defence next season by lining up a summer swoop for the Newcastle United centre back Jonathan Woodgate, the News of the World reports in a story that also makes the Mail on Sunday and the Sunday Express. Apparently, Arsenal will offer the Tyneside club a £6m profit on the player. The Mail, however, reckons any suggestion that Newcastle might sell would also alert Manchester United.
The People says the Charlton Athletic manager, Alan Curbishley, has identified Leicester City's Muzzy Izzet as his primary transfer target for the summer, which may reassure Tottenham fans reading the News of the World, which claims Curbishley aims to hijack their club's £4m move for PSV Eindhoven's Mark van Bommel.
Middlesbrough want to beat Juventus, Roma and Valencia to River Plate's 20-year-old Argentinian striker Fernando Cavenaghi, according to the Mirror.
The People believes that while Everton are chasing the 17-year-old American Danny Szetela, Portsmouth are ready to tempt the Goodison Park club with a £1.5m bid for Tomasz Radzinksi, who could leave on a free in 2005 and has not yet been offered a new contract. The News of the World links Portsmouth with West Ham's Christian Dailly, another player with only 12 months left of his current deal.
Scotland's Sunday Mail claims the Celtic manager, Martin O'Neill, wants to sign Cardiff City's Robert Earnshaw to replace Henrik Larsson.
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