Espanyol eye Berson

The 24-year-old, who was brought to the club after a protracted £1.7million deal from Nantes in August, has been linked with a permanent switch, though a loan looks more likely. The former French Under-21 international is a combative midfielder in the Gavin McCann mould, but unlike the ex-Sunderland man, he has done little to justify his transfer fee and is yet to make his debut.

In fairness, he has done well for the reserves in recent weeks, but David O’Leary has already intuited that neither Berson nor summer loan signing Vaclav Drobny are ready for first-team action. Whatever the logic of bringing a player in on a season loan who cannot play for the first five months, I’m not sure, but it seems to make about as much sense as inviting Gary Glitter to entertain at your child’s birthday party.