WHAT today’s papers are saying:
SUNDAY TELEGRAPH: The FA Cup underlined its reputation as the national home for football’s romantics yesterday, as two non-League clubs earned places in today’s fourth round draw with notable wins over Championship sides. Also: Tottenham Hotspur are planning a £15 million bid for Brazil striker Leandro Damiao, with Emmanuel Adebayor set to complete an about-turn and play in the Forthcoming Africa Cup of Nations.
THE SUN: Joe Cole’s West Ham return ended in bloody heartache after Robin van Persie’s last-gasp equaliser. Also: Demba Ba took just 35 minutes to start paying back his £7.5million price tag.
SUNDAY MIRROR: Mario Balotelli’s nightmare season at Manchester City has cost him a £1million windfall. Also: Newcastle’s shock FA Cup exit has heaped more pressure on beleaguered boss Alan Pardew.
SUNDAY PEOPLE: Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is ready to perform a major U-turn and re-open contract talks with Frank Lampard. Also: Alan Pardew has warned his Newcastle flops they are not too good to go down this season.
DAILY STAR: Sven-Goran Eriksson is talking to Blackburn’s owners Venky’s about becoming Ewood Park chief - 16 years after turning Rovers down. Also: Mario Balotelli is preparing to quit Man City for AC Milan with Napoli’s £40m-rated striker Edinson Cavani moving to the Etihad.
SUNDAY EXPRESS: Real Madrid will move for Manchester City’s £50million-rated Sergio Aguero if his marriage break-up leaves him feeling isolated in England. Also: Chelsea last night claimed that Frank Lampard could still be staying at Chelsea.
MAIL ON SUNDAY: Chelsea revealed last night that they have made the first moves towards awarding veteran midfielder Frank Lampard a new contract to stay at the club he has given 12 years of wonderful service. Also: Alan Pardew saw his injury-hit side knocked out of the FA Cup at Brighton yesterday and admitted: “We had young players out there who shouldn’t be playing for Newcastle in the third round of the FA Cup.”
THE OBSERVER: Alan Pardew admitted that Newcastle are not too good to be relegated from the Premier League after they were beaten 2-0 at Brighton of the Championship in the third round of the FA Cup, with the manager insisting he must be allowed to bring in players this month. Also: Macclesfield Town’s 139-year quest to reach the fourth round of the FA Cup is over.
SUNDAY TIMES: A sprinkling of FA Cup magic lit up east London last night when an extraordinary goal by Robin van Persie kept alive Manchester United’s chances of lifting the trophy for the first time since 2004. Also: Chelsea have indicated for the first time that they are considering offering a new contract to their 34-year-old midfielder, Frank Lampard, who yesterday became the club’s joint second-highest goalscorer in their 5-1 thrashing of Southampton in the third round of the FA Cup.
THE INDEPENDENT: Chelsea’s interim manager, Rafa Benitez, last night saluted the impact of Demba Ba, who scored twice in his team’s 5-1 destruction of Southampton, while the club revealed for the first time they are involved in negotiations aimed at keeping Frank Lampard at the club beyond the end of the season. Also: When it comes to his fellow countrymen, Gianfranco Zola proved a sight easier for Roberto Mancini to deal with than Mario Balotelli.