Gary O'Shea, once feted as one of football's best young transfer speculation writers, is believed to be in showdown talks with his manager at The Sun's sport pages.
He's furious, insiders say, at having to play out of position. “Gary's best position is on the inside back page, where he links up speculation about discord in a football team with creative projections that always seem to end in people Wanting Away or Slamming in a Transfer Request,” says an insider who happens to speak amazingly fluent tabloid-ese.
Though O'Shea is one of the best schemers in the game, he's been asked to play 'in the hole' recently – ghost writing columns by ex-footballers that nobody ever reads. Now he's asked his agent to tell other sports editors that he's ready to move.
If is up for grabs a host other other tabloids would be interested. The Daily Star is thought to have tabled a bid, which Sun Sport rejected as 'laughable'. The Star is desperate for a creative to think up some football signing stories. “The Daily Star hasn't come up with an original story since Jeffrey Archer and Monica Coughlan,” said one insider.
The Daily Mirror and The Guardian are watching the situation closely. At a recent team talk in the Guardian the head of news gave his transfer speculation writers a rollocking and threw a tea cup at the wall. Meanwhile, The Daily Mirror Brian Reade has been given a massive budget and told not to come back to the office until he's blown it, says The Man Who Knows The Truth.
Only Glenn Moore of The Independent has resisted the hunt, preferring to get his transfer speculation stories from Football Manager 2013.
Now The Daily Mail has thrown its hat into the ring. Management have grown tired of double barrelled mockney columnist Piers Morgan, who has made the Mail Sports pages a laughing stock. “Morgan's the Nigel Dempster of sports journalism,” said one insider, “His days are numbered at Associated Press.”
A move to the Daily Mail sports pages would allow O'Shea to renew his partnership with Big Neil Ashton, who he played with at The Croydon Guardian. He would also provide the ideal foil for Martin Samuel, who likes to play off someone else's news story. “O'Shea could unsettle the clubs and Samuel could feed off the chaos,” said one expert.
Meanwhile, The Sunday People have asked the Daily Telegraph about taking Henry Winter on loan. Winter, who's had his best days at the broadsheet, would entertain tabloid readers with his fantastically over reaching arguments and over complications of simple events. “Winter would have the fans rolling in the aisles,” said one insider. However, Winter is thought to want to stay at the Telegraph and pledged to fight for his place.
With January fast approaching, sport editors are desperate to get their most creative story writers in place for the crucial transfer Window season. “Some of the dead beats in this office wouldn't spot a story of they saw George Best riding Shergar down Oxford Street,” says an insider at The Sun.