Thursday’s Papers: Pennant/Lennon swap on cards

It’s a slow news week without any football until Sunday when Liverpool take on Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, hoping to take three points off a fellow top-four club for the third time this season. So the press are turning their attention to transfer speculation as the January transfer window approaches’¦

Today’s Mirror claims Liverpool are set to make a bid for Tottenham Hotspurs’ Aaron Lennon, with out-of-favour winger Jermaine Pennant thought to be part of a swap deal. David Maddock writes:

The key to any deal would be the price Spurs command for Lennon. If Liverpool were asked to pay around £7million plus Pennant, then Benitez would jump at the opportunity, because he feels he would be able to sell the young England winger at that price even if he failed to settle on Merseyside.

Maddock also points out a clause in Pennant’s Liverpool contract:

Pennant has only six months remaining on his Anfield contract, and unless he plays more than 15 games for Liverpool – which would automatically trigger an extension – he can leave on a free at the end of the current campaign.

The back pages are reporting good news for Liverpool fan Michael Shields in his quest to be free since being convicted of assault in Bulgaria en route to the European Cup Final in Istanbul in 2005. Shields can be pardoned by the British Government, according to the High Court. The Telegraph’s Aislinn Simpson reports:

The judges said Justice Secretary Jack Straw did have the “power and jurisdiction” to exercise the ancient “royal prerogative of mercy” in the case of Shields, who was convicted in Bulgaria but transferred to a UK prison to finish his sentence.

But the judges also ruled that it was for Mr Straw alone – and not the courts – to decide how to exercise that power.

And finally, have you read today’s Kopblog? Our award-winning resident blogger Gerry wishes Rafa get well soon, reflects on the 2-2 draw with Hull City and looks ahead to Sunday’s Premier League clash against the Gunners. Click here to read Gerry’s latest entry.