O'Neill is interested in Ireland and Bentley but looks set to lose out on Downing

Stephen Ireland is a decent midfielder and a slightly unlucky one. Unlucky because over this season he has probably been the outstanding young player and if the votes were taken at the end of the season for the player of the year awards, he might have pipped our Ashley, but they're not and over the previous twelve months our Ashley was better, still, a little unlucky.

I only mention this today because one of the papers is suggesting us and Arsenal are keen followers and that if contract talks with Manchester City break down, we might be ready to pounce.

It sounds like Ireland just wants more money and based on this season he probably deserves it, but if the story is true, he has been offered £60k a week, raising to £80k a week after two years; are we going to pay anything close to that for a 22 year old who has had two good seasons?

I like Ireland and if it were my money I'd probably pay it, but based on what we've seen of O'Neill since he arrived, you can't see him paying this much.

But moving on from one young player to another, this time David Bentley who according to Harry Redknapp, could leave in the summer and based on the way Bentley has been treated since Harry arrived at Spurs, you've got to fancy he doesn't want to stay.

He can't even get in the team when they don't have any right sided midfielders fit and while some will say that is an indication of his quality, I reckon it's an opportunity. Most would have been happy had we brought him in last summer and it sounds like we could get him for a fraction of the price Spurs paid Blackburn for him and I for one, would like to see him come.

Harry Redknapp, talking about Bentley
David's going to look at it and think 'hang on, I'm not getting in the team even when Aaron Lennon's not fit. Maybe it is time I moved on.

I think you've got to look at Bentley and ask if he's as good as what we've got and the answer to that should be yes. Could he get better? Maybe with a run, but he isn't worse that what we've got and if we can pick up for £6mn. then surely it's good business.

Lastly today, it looks like Liverpool are going to win the race for DJ Stewart Downing, even though he could be out for up to six months with a foot injury. I for one wouldn't be that disappointed losing out on him and I hope his foot gets better and he signs for Liverpool.

Again, this is all paper talk today, but I'm hoping to have something a little special for you later this week, just putting the finishing touches to it and another thing.