The message on the back page of The Sun is clear – if Rafa Benitez’s Chelsea lose at home to Wigan, he can expect to lose his job.
The Sun makes the claim and adds an extra dash of spice to this afternoon’s encounter by saying that if Roberto Martinez masterminds Wigan’s victory, the Blues could yet offer him the job.
He’s still behind the main candidates that have been discussed in the press this week, the paper adds – Jose Mourinho, Juergen Klopp, David Moyes and Manuel Pellegrini are reportedly higher on Roman Abramovich’s wish list.
Continuing the Benitez theme in the paper, a secondary article entitled ‘Benitez in the dark – it’s official – Rafa knows nothing’ reveals that the Chelsea interim manager has not spoken to Abramovich at all for over three weeks, leaving him unable to make any comment on his own future, or indeed that of midfielder Frank Lampard.
Victory over Wigan may not be a cure-all with the knives out, but perhaps signing Marouane Fellaini in the summer will make everything better.
The Everton midfielder, however, says there’s been no contact from Chelsea, and if they want him, it’s time to make a bid.
“If Chelsea want to sign me, then they need to come forward with a bid for me. I have heard about Chelsea’s interest but I’ve honestly not spoken to them,” Fellaini is quoted as saying in The Sun.
“Every season I’ve been here, top clubs have been asking about me but, for now, I’m happy at Everton.”
“It might feel better to play Champions League football for Everton than Chelsea, as they gave me my debut in England.”
In other papers and in other teams, the Daily Mirror say that Andre Villas-Boas’ patience withEmmanuel Adebayor has finally snapped and the striker will be fined after missing the deadline to report back for duty with Tottenham after the Africa Cup of Nations.
Adebayor’s Togo were knocked out in the quarter-finals on Sunday, but the striker only checked out of his hotel in South Africa on Wednesday.
He was supposed to be back in London by Friday afternoon, but had not met the club’s deadline.
With Spurs desperate for a striker in the absence in Jermain Defoe’s absence, Adebayor may yet still go straight into the team for the lunchtime match against Newcastle, but he is facing for his late arrival.
Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has warned off potential suitors of Christian Benteke by saying that the striker is now worth at least £14m after impressing since his summer switch to the Premier League (The Sun).
West Ham United’s midfielder Kevin Nolan is hoping that on-loan team-mate Andy Carrollwill continue his stay in London beyond the summer (Mirror).
The Daily Express, meanwhile, has an interesting line on the Peter Odemwingie saga. The 31-year-old had a blazing row on his return to training with team-mate Steven Reid involved. The defender had suggested in the press before Odemwingie’s return that the Nigerian might no longer be welcome after brazenly seeking a move away to QPR on deadline day.
And the Daily Mail pours cold water on reports that Owen Coyle could return to management withBlackpool. The former Bolton boss did meet the club to discuss the position, but talks broke down over personal terms