Double-winning Gunners enjoyed heavy drinking: Ray Parlour has lifted the lid on the drinking culture that was rife at Arsenal during the 1990s in an interview with online sports chat show Sportlobster TV. The Daily Telegraph reports the former winger's revelations about Steve Bould, now the club's assistant manager, once ordering a 35-pint round during Arsène Wenger’s first summer as manager in 1997 - for just five players! That same day, the Gunners' French contingent was sat in a coffee shop smoking. Parlour said: “I thought, ’How are we going to win the league this year? We’re all drunk and they’re all smoking’. We ended up winning the double that year.”
Paper Round's view: It comes as no surprise to hear that footballers used to drink and smoke - we all know about Tony Adams and Paul Merson's problems. What is possibly more surprising that it was so apparently wide-spread and that did not hamper the team's performances on the pitch in any way (unless it was just a case of all the other teams drinking harder and smoking more).
- - -
United won't be rushed over Rooney: Manchester United are in no rush to open contract talks with Wayne Rooney, despite renewed interest in the England striker from Chelsea, reports the Daily Mirror. Rooney's current deal expires in 18 months but the club will not be pressured into tabling a new offer until they are ready.
Paper Round's view: As with yesterday's revelations, in the same paper, about Chelsea wanting to sign Rooney, United's stance is equally nothing new. We've heard all this before: United believe Rooney is happier at the club, the problem lay with the breakdown in his relationship with Alex Ferguson, he's enjoying a new lease of life under David Moyes etc.
- - -
United to prioritise Mangala signing: Manchester United manager David Moyes has put Porto’s Eliaquim Mangala on his Christmas wish-list, reports the Daily Mirror. The paper claims that Moyes watched the formidable Frenchman in action on Wednesday and is in the hunt for his £15 million signature. Chelsea have also been sniffing around the defender, but Jose Mourinho appears to prefer the idea of St Etienne's Kurt Zouma.
Paper Round's view: United certainly need to think about what's going on in the middle at the back - Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic are no spring chickens, while Chris Smalling has failed to impress and Phil Jones hardly ever plays that position any more. Mangala could be the answer, although a move in January would not be ideal as he would be cup tied for the Champions League. On that basis a move in the summer would be a better idea..
- - -
Henry in demand: Arsenal's record goalscorer Thierry Henry is back in demand, with the Daily Mail claiming the Frenchman is now the most wanted TV football pundit and being chased by the BBC, Sky and BT Sport. Henry made a good impression on his telly debut for Sky in midweek and he will also feature on Match of the Day at the weekend. On top of that, the New York Red Bulls striker is appear for the BBC in their World Cup coverage next summer.
Paper Round's view: The suave, sophisticated Frenchman is destined to become a pundit. The guy's made for TV. If he can muster up some opinions, then he'll be a huge hit. Just like Gary Neville, only a bit better looking. Okay, a lot better.
- - -