Premier League - Paper Round: Now City accuse Clattenburg

Those glad to see the back of the Mark Clattenburg racism saga would be advised not to read today's back pages - the referee is back in the headlines, this time amid accusations from Manchester City.

Premier League - Paper Round: Now City accuse Clattenburg

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Daily Mail back page 15/12/2012

The match official has found himself at the centre of another controversy over his comments to players after City accused him of winding up Gareth Barry.

Barry copped a one-match ban following charges of aiming abusive language at fourth official Clattenberg during last weekend's derby loss to Manchester United.

Yet the Premier League champions insist Barry was only responding after Clattenburg - who was cleared last month of racially abusing Chelsea's John Obi Mikel - had made derogatory remarks of his own.

The Daily Mail has the story on its back page, as does the Daily Mirror, which reports: "Boss Roberto Mancini refused to reveal what those alleged comments were, but it is thought Clattenberg was sarcastic towards the City man".

"Gareth is a serious man and a serious player and I don't understand why Clattenburg wrote or said these things about Gareth Barry," said Mancini.

"I don't know if it comes from this problem after Chelsea, but I think every fourth official should understand that at the end of a game that you lose in the last seconds...

"If he (Barry) said inappropriate words against Clattenburg, I think he (the official) should understand this," added Mancini.

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Another referee to feature in the papers this morning is Andre Marriner, after Tottenham wide man Gareth Bale held face-to-face talks with him to discuss the recent cautions handed to the Welshman for diving.

The Daily Telegraph reports that Bale, who was booked in successive games for simulation, discussed the issue with Marriner at a scheduled referees’ visit to Spurs’ training ground.

"It’s a tag that if he has gained, it is unfair. But it doesn’t bother him in any way shape or form,” Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas said at his Friday press conference.

To some transfer news now, with Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool all featuring heavily in various tittle-tattle.

First up, Arsene Wenger and Alex Ferguson are set to battle it out for the signature of Raheem Sterling.

According to The Sun, both Arsenal and Manchester United are "poised to move in" as Sterling's talks with Liverpool over a new contract have stalled.

As the paper points out, a move to Old Trafford would cause shockwaves, as no player has moved between Liverpool and United since Phil Chisnall nearly 50 years ago.

Meanwhile Wenger stunned reporters on Friday by saying: "'We'll buy Lionel Messi and surprise you". Of course the Arsenal boss was just joking, as he attempted to lighten the mood around the Emirates amid their worst-ever Premier League start and that shocking Capital One Cup defeat to Bradord.

The Mail claims that Chelsea are ready to challenge United and Liverpool for Arsenal's Theo Walcott, with the Red Devils prepared to offload Nani to Roma to make room for the England man.

Chelsea, meanwhile, are prepared to offer £15 million for Walcott, who they see as a replacement for Daniel Sturridge, who is expected to leave for Liverpool, according to the Independent.

The Sun say United are facing competition from Tottenham for St Etienne striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the Gabon star who is famed for wearing Swarovski crystal-covered boots that cost £2,500.

Chelsea and City have been put "on alert" after a sulking Zlatan Ibrahimovic failed to turn up to training with Paris St-Germain over a row about car parking, claims the Mail.

Citing reports in France, the paper says: "the pony-tailed star was left enraged last month by PSG staff after he was refused permission to park in the club’s car park which is reserved for technical staff.

"Ibrahimovic, who is famous for his ‘unique’ personality, wanted to leave his car in the area reserved for staff as it is located nearer to the club’s training ground than the car park dedicated to the players.

"As a response to the refusal by the on-duty car-park wardens, the Swede instead decided to park his car at the entrance to the technical staff car park, therefore blocking all other vehicles from entering and leaving the complex".

Chelsea are also after striker Radamel Falcao and have signalled their intentions to bring him to Stamford Bridge by offering the Colombian a staggering £10million-a-year contract.

The Mail claims the West London club will offer the 26-year-old a deal worth in the region of £200,000-per-week, to lure Falcao. That would eclipse the club's current top earner Fernando Torres, who is understood to earn £175,000-per-week.

And finally, Tottenham are giving serious consideration to making a formal bid for Ajax playmaker Christian Eriksen during the January transfer window (Independent), QPR could be waving goodbye to midfielder Esteban Granero with Fiorentina circling and Arsenal face a tug of war with Lazio to bring transfer target Mohammed Abdellaoue to the Emirates (both Daily Express).

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