TOP sport stories making the headlines in today’s UK national papers - Friday, April 22, 2011.
DAILY TELEGRAPH: Gerard Houllier is unlikely to resume full-time managerial duties at Aston Villa this season after being admitted to hospital complaining of chest pains. Also: Gary O’Neil is considering taking legal action against Aston Villa midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker after a tackle that may have put his career in jeopardy...Arsene Wenger will have a player budget of around £40million this summer and will be allowed to spend it how he chooses.
THE INDEPENDENT: Roberto Mancini last night issued Carlos Tevez with a fitness ultimatum as the Manchester City captain steps up his bid to play a part in this season’s FA Cup final. Also: Arsene Wenger’s claim that an interview given by Cesc Fabregas, in which the Arsenal captain questioned the club’s ambition, was inaccurate was met with a fierce rebuttal by the Spanish magazine that published the piece...John Higgins, the triple world champion, admitted he felt a bout of nerves before digging deep to secure his place in the last-16 stage of this year’s World Championship.
THE TIMES: Liverpool have secured the biggest kit deal in English football history, the £25million-a-year contract with Boston-based Warrior Sports more than doubling the Anfield club’s present agreement with adidas. Also: Manchester United remain the most valuable football club in the world, with a respected survey estimating the Barclays Premier League club to be worth £1.12billion...Lee Westwood and Luke Donald have the chance to take advantage of Martin Kaymer’s week off and replace the German at the top of the world rankings with a victory on either side of the world this weekend.
DAILY EXPRESS: Gerard Houllier is not expected to be on the touchline again this season after his health scare, but Aston Villa insist his job will remain open. Also: Petr Cech says Arsenal have blown their chance of winning the Premier League title and believes Chelsea are now Manchester United’s main challengers...Sir Alex Ferguson is hoping to have big-game player Darren Fletcher back as Manchester United’s season reaches its climax.
DAILY MAIL: Sir Alex Ferguson will try to exploit growing turmoil at Inter Milan by making a concerted attempt to sign Wesley Sneijder at the end of the season. Also: Gerard Houllier will not be seen on the touchline again this season after the Aston Villa manager was admitted to hospital suffering from chest pains on Wednesday night...Roberto Mancini has warned Carlos Tevez that he will not be considered for next month’s FA Cup final at Wembley unless he proves his match fitness before Manchester City face Stoke at Wembley.
THE SUN: Didier Drogba will hold crunch talks with Chelsea about his future next week. Also: Petr Cech has mocked title rivals Arsenal by insisting: You’ve bottled it again...Bacary Sagna admits Arsenal are suffering too many draws to be crowned Premier League champions...Peter Crouch hopes that history will repeat itself with Spurs inflicting Champions League heartbreak on Manchester City...Ronnie O’Sullivan has hit back at Shaun Murphy - insisting the Rocket has done more for snooker than any player in the world.
DAILY MIRROR: Kenny Dalglish claims managers all need to to find their own way of coping with the intense pressure of the job. Also: Bacary Sagna says Arsenal cannot afford to drop any more points as they pursue Manchester United for the title...Andy Flower will be offered a three-year ‘golden handcuffs’ contract to remain England coach - with a licence to skip tours.
THE GUARDIAN: Kenny Dalglish believes Liverpool require further investment in players this summer despite spending £57.8million on new talent in January and overseeing the emergence of several talented youngsters from the club’s academy. Also: Tony Pulis has dismissed Tottenham Hotspur’s call for Stoke City’s rearranged Premier League game with Manchester City to be brought forward by saying that the matter has “nothing to do” with Spurs...Strathclyde Police have appealed for calm among Celtic supporters ahead of Sunday’s Old Firm game amid fears they could be targeted in a similar form to the club’s manager Neil Lennon.
DAILY STAR: Carlo Ancelotti will still be axed by Chelsea - even if he pulls off an amazing title snatch. Also: Petr Cech has cranked up the pressure on Manchester United by insisting Chelsea have replaced Arsenal as their main title rivals.