Thursday, 21 August 2014

Liverpool have £16m fee for Mario Balotelli accepted by AC Milan and striker could face ex-club Manchester City this Monday

  • Liverpool have had a £16m bid accepted by for Balotelli
  • Italian striker left Manchester City in 2013, and has scored 30 goals for Milan
  • Balotelli thought to want around £125,000 a week 
  • Brendan Rodgers still searching for another striker after selling Luis Suarez
  • Former Liverpool star Michael Owen says it'll be great fun having Balotelli back in the Premier League 
  • Liverpool face Balotelli's former club Manchester City on Monday
Liverpool have had a £16million bid accepted by AC Milan for Italy striker Mario Balotelli.
Balotelli is thought to want £125,000 a week to move to Anfield and the transfer is nearly complete, subject to personal terms. 

Brendan Rodgers had said Liverpool would categorically not be signing the errant Italy striker last month, but has had a change of heart.   

How it's going to be: Mario Balotelli mocked up in a Liverpool shirt in anticipation of his £16m move to Anfield
How it's going to be: Mario Balotelli mocked up in a Liverpool shirt in anticipation of his £16m move to Anfield
Drive to succeed: Balotelli leaves Milan's training ground in his red Ferrari
Drive to succeed: Balotelli leaves Milan's training ground in his red Ferrari

Super Mario: Balotelli left the Premier League in 2013, but now seems to be on his way back with Liverpool
Super Mario: Balotelli left the Premier League in 2013, but now seems to be on his way back with Liverpool
Change of heart: Rodgers had previously said he would not be signing the Italian striker
Change of heart: Rodgers had previously said he would not be signing the Italian striker
Balotelli earlier told Sky Italia: 'This will be my last day at Milanello.' 
Later, he left Milanello training complex in a red Ferrari. He had lunch after training and stopped to tell reporters: 'Nothing is decided yet nothing is black and white.'

Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen posted on Sportslobster: 'Going to be great fun having Balotelli back in the Premier League. There is no doubt about his talent and I'm sure Brendan Rodgers will make sure he behaves having witnessed the problems (Luis) Suarez inflicted on the club. If that's the case, £16m looks good value.'

Samuel Eto'o is still an option for Liverpool should the Balotelli deal fall through, for any reason.

Balotelli has to be registered by noon on Friday if he is to figure for Liverpool against former club Manchester City on Monday.

It would be a sensational return to the Premier League for the 24-year-old, who left City in 2013.

Balotelli has been involved in a series of scrapes during his career to date, especially during his time in the Premier League. 

On the field, he was sent off for Manchester City against Arsenal in 2012 in a defeat that almost derailed their title charge.

And off the pitch, there was the notorious incident when Balotelli set off fireworks in his house, leading to him revealing the famous 'Why Always Me?' T-shirt when he scored in the Manchester derby at Old Trafford in 2011.

He also had a set-to with City manager Roberto Mancini on the training ground, and a scrap with Jerome Boateng.

The striker's agent Mino Raiola flew to England on Wednesday to try to thrash out a deal.
Since returning to Italy, he has scored 30 goals in 54 games, the same amount he scored for City in 80 games. 

And it is easy to forget that he has already won four titles in two countries, a Champions League and the FA Cup and Coppa Italia by the age of 24. 


Mario Balotelli: Liverpool agree £16m fee for AC Milan striker

Mario Balotelli
Mario Balotelli
Liverpool have agreed a £16m fee with AC Milan to sign former Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli.

Reds boss Brendan Rodgers wants the Italy international, 24, to strengthen his attack after last season's top scorer Luis Suarez joined Barcelona.

Balotelli moved to Milan for £19m from City last year and has scored 30 goals in 54 games for the Serie A club.

Liverpool travel to Etihad Stadium in their next Premier League match on Monday.

Negotiations are still taking place to agree terms with the player, but Balotelli has already said his farewells in Italy.

Milan said in a statement on their website: "Mario Balotelli left Milanello's sporting centre at 13:30 local time, after saying goodbye to his team-mates.

"Before leaving the premises, the striker has said goodbye to members of Milan's press office."

Balotelli was a big hit with City supporters during his first spell in England, helping the club win a first league title since 1968.

But he was also in the headlines for several off-the-pitch incidents - including a training-ground bust-up with then-manager Roberto Mancini.

In his second season in Manchester, he scored only three goals in 20 games.

The striker agreed a four-and-a-half-year deal with Milan in January 2013, and played for Italy at the World Cup in Brazil.

He was heavily linked with Arsenal earlier in the summer, but after bringing in Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona for £35m, Arsene Wenger ruled out signing another forward.

Liverpool have so far brought in only one frontman for the new campaign, signing Rickie Lambert from Southampton for £4m.

The Reds paid £10m for Lille's Belgium striker Divock Origi, 19, but have loaned him back to the French club for the season.

With doubts surrounding the future of Fabio Borini, who remains a target for Sunderland, Rodgers is keen to add to his forward line.

"I do still think we need another striker," he said after Liverpool began their Premier League campaign with a 2-1 victory over Southampton.

"It is something that we will look at, but it will depend on the availability of one.

"We will search through to the end of the transfer window."

AC Milan endured a difficult campaign last season, finishing eighth in Serie A and failing to qualify for Europe.

Balotelli would be guaranteed Champions League football at Liverpool, who finished runners-up to City in the Premier League last term.
Balotelli started all three games for Italy during this summer's World Cup in Brazil
The striker met Pope Francis during an audience at the Vatican last year

Borussia Dortmund keeper Roman Weidenfeller got the Balotelli treatment in a Champions League game
Balotelli won the 2011-12 Premier League title under Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini

When two fans ran on to the pitch during a recent AC Milan friendly, Balotelli agreed to pose for a 'selfie'

BBC Sports

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Falcao to Liverpool FC? Manolas to Arsenal FC? Rojo to Man Utd

Radamel Falcao (credit: NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP/Getty Images)
- Sporting Lisbon defender Marcos Rojo has said that signing for Manchester United will be "a dream".

"It's a dream to play at Manchester United," Rojo told Radio Continental.

"It was not easy to get out of Sporting.

"It is going to be a nice experience. I hope I can adapt quickly to the style of play."

- Liverpool remain keen on Radamel Falcao but they face competition from Juventus for the Monaco striker, according to the Daily Mail.

- Liverpool are continuing to hold talks with Falcao’s agents over a big-money move to Anfield, according to Metro.

- Arsenal are closing in on the signing of Olympiakos defender Kostas Manolas in a £6million deal, according to Metro.

- Southampton are set to reject Tottenham’s latest £17million bid for Morgan Schneiderlin, according to The Sun.

- Sao Paulo right-back Douglas is set to sign for Spanish giants Barcelona.

"The initial transfer fee will be €6m, but if may rise to €8m if Douglas achieves certain goals which have yet to be defined," Sao Paulo vice-president Ataide Gil Guerreiro told Jovem Pan Radio.

"Negotiations are nearly done.

"However, certain things may arise that could hold up the deal during contract discussions. We still have some way to go before both sides are speaking the exact same language on a number of details. I think it will be a done deal within three or four days.

"We have asked for Douglas to stay at Sao Paulo on loan for another season, but we are still in talks over this. It is a remote possibility as things stand."

- Barcelona have claimed that they paid just £65million to sign Luis Suarez from Liverpool earlier this summer.

It was widely reported when Liverpool agreed to sell Suarez that the Catalans would be paying £75m, but Barca vice president Jordi Mestre said on Tuesday: "Negotiations started before the World Cup and we worked hard to come to a final figure of €81million (£65m).

"We were originally quoted over €90m (£72m)."

He added: "He had much better offers than ours financially but he wanted to come to Barcelona. He made a great effort - financially and personally - to be here."

- Tottenham are willing to let Benoit Assou Ekotto leave on a free transfer, according to the Daily Mail.

New number five! Manchester United confirm £16m Marcos Rojo signing and Nani departure

Marcos Rojo will wear the number five at Manchester United
Manchester United have completed the signing of defender Marcos Rojo from Sporting Lisbon with winger Nani heading in the opposite direction on a season-long loan.

The Argentina international will cost United £15.98million and moves to Old Trafford on a five-year deal.

"Manchester United is delighted to announce the signing of defender Marcos Rojo from Sporting Lisbon for a fee of 20million euros, with Nani joining the Portuguese club on a season-long loan," read a statement from United. "Marcos joins on a five-year contract."

Rojo is equally comfortable at centre-back as he is at left-back and played all 120 minutes of July's World Cup final as Argentina lost to Germany after extra-time in Rio de Janeiro.

The 24-year-old began his career in his homeland with Estudiantes de la Plata and spent a single season with Spartak Moscow before moving to Sporting in 2012.

He also has 28 caps for his country and cannot wait to play his part in Louis van Gaal's new era at United.

"It is such an honour to say that I now play for Manchester United," he said. "The Premier League is the most exciting league in the world and to have the chance to play in it for the world's biggest club is a dream for me.

"I am young and am very keen to continue to learn the game, so playing for such an experienced technical coach as Louis van Gaal is a fantastic opportunity for me.

"I have joined United to work hard with my team-mates to win trophies and I know that the manager shares that ambition."

Rojo joins Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw as Van Gaal's third high-profile signing since taking over earlier in the summer and the Dutchman believes he will be a useful addition as the former Bayern Munich boss implements a new 3-5-2 formation at Old Trafford this term.

"Marcos is a very gifted defender," he said. "He has played at the highest level in world football and can play either as a central defender or left back.

"He has ability, physical strength and a willingness to learn that means he has a very bright future ahead of him.

"He had a very strong World Cup and has been playing in Europe for a couple of years now. He is a very good addition to the team."

United lost centre-backs Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic alongside left-back Patrice Evra this summer and Rojo will add to a defensive unit which was largely criticised following the defeat to Swansea at the weekend.

The move for Rojo had been complicated by a row between Sporting and a third-party ownership group, while the player upset his employers by initially refusing to train in a bid to push through the deal, although he later apologised and returned to work.

The 27-year-old Nani, who moved to Manchester seven years ago, previously spent four years as a Sporting player after leaving Real Massama in 2003.

He has made 228 appearances in all competitions for United, scoring 40 goals, but has rarely been a regular starter during his time in the Barclays Premier League.

Meanwhile, United have dismissed reports linking them to unsuccessful bids for Thomas Muller and Marco Reus.

The club insist rumours of failed moves for the German pair are untrue, with a United spokesman telling Press Association Sport: "It is not true that we made offers for Muller or Reus at any stage."

Marouane Fellaini looked set to be making a move out of the north west but that may now have been scuppered with the Belgian sustaining an injury in training.

United have not commented on the extent of the injury, but pictures in The Sun showed the 26-year-old on crutches with his left foot in a protective cast.

Fellaini had been expected to tie up a loan move to Serie A club Napoli before the end of the transfer window and that move is clearly now in doubt.
The Independent

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Blind to Man Utd? Moreno to Liverpool FC? Falcao to Real Madrid CF?

Daley Blind (credit: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
- Ajax defender Daley Blind has confirmed he is prepared to listen to offers from Manchester United.

"I am happy here in Amsterdam," he said.

"But if there comes another club I will have to think about it and then we will see. I will think about my options. For now I will focus on Ajax and we will see what happens next week."

- Liverpool remain in talks with Sevilla over a deal for left-back Alberto Moreno.

"There have been negotiations [for Moreno], eight or 10 days ago, but there has been no agreement and nor is there today," Sevilla president Jose Castro told his club's official website.

"If Liverpool's offer is suitable he will leave. If not, he'll stay and nothing will happen, absolutely nothing. We'll be at ease."

- Radamel Falcao, who has been linked with Real Madrid and more recently Liverpool, could be on the move this month, according to the Monaco striker's father, who has played down reports suggesting a move to Madrid is close to being finalised.

"I’m not saying Falcao will leave. I’m only saying that he has a contract with Monaco," Radamel Garcia told Cadena Cope.

"My son has never told me that he wants to go from Monaco, but, with him I don’t talk about football.

"My son has a contract [at Monaco] for four years and he is serving it.

When asked about the possibility of his son moving to Madrid, he added: "If my child ought to play or not [at Real], depends on [coach Carlo] Ancelotti."

- Manchester United are still interested in launching an ambitious bid to sign Real Madrid winger Angel Di Maria, according to the Daily Star.

- Barcelona insist they have not received any bids for Dani Alves, who has been linked with the likes of Liverpool in recent days, as well as Paris Saint-Germain.

- Newcastle United are leading the race to sign Manchester United winger Wilfried Zaha, according to Metro.

- Cardiff City are willing to double Ravel Morrison’s West Ham wages to take him to Wales, according to the Daily Telegraph.

- Cardiff have offered £3million for Morrison, according to The Times.

- Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert insists the club have not received any offers for captain Ron Vlaar.

- Sunderland manager Gus Poyet is raiding his old club Brighton for midfielder Will Buckley, according to The Sun.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Man United make massive bid for Real Madrid winger Di Maria

Argentina international Angel di Maria is one of many high-quality midfielders at Real Madrid.

Jack Rodwell has advised the best English kids not to sign for Manchester City.

Tottenham are chasing £2million-rated Nigerian youngster Moses Simon.

Gus Poyet will look elsewhere, with Sunderland no closer to securing a deal for Fabio Borini.

Alberto Moreno will complete his protracted move to Liverpool after the UEFA Super Cup.

Garry Monk has told Gylfi Sigurdsson he has nothing to prove at Swansea, despite failing to shine with Tottenham.

Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes fired a parting shot at Tottenham for blocking his every escape route and forcing him to waste three years on the bench.

Tony Adams says Jack Wilshere must show more "hunger and professionalism" and believes the midfielder should be insulted that Arsenal paid £42.5million for Mesut Ozil.

Fraser Forster will have talks with Southampton after Celtic accepted a £10million bid.

Manchester City midfielder Javi Garcia is poised to join Zenit St Petersburg.

Tottenham are set to beat Roma to the signing of USA right-back DeAndre Yedlin.

Manchester City are on the verge of announcing the signing of defender Eliaquim Mangala from Porto.

Everton have agreed a season-long loan with Chelsea for Christian Atsu.

Thomas Vermaelen is heading to Barcelona after Manchester United refused to co-operate in a swap deal with Arsenal involving Chris Smalling.

West Ham have agreed a fee with Marseille for midfielder Morgan Amalfitano.

Connor Wickham, Hugo Almeida, Diafra Sakho and Joel Campbell are also targets for Sam Allardyce.

Atletico Madrid are keen on Roberto Soldado, but the La Liga champions want the Tottenham striker on loan first.

Felix Magath has confirmed that Maarten Stekelenburg wants to quit Fulham, with Monaco said to be keen on the goalkeeper.

AC Milan will offer QPR a transfer fee of £4million for Adel Taarabt.

Swansea remain in talks with Napoli over a £7million move for defender Federico Fernandez.

Mikel Arteta is set to become Arsenal club captain.

Thomas Vermaelen is on his way to Barcelona after a dream move to Manchester United collapsed.

United are now expected to increase their efforts to persuade Borussia Dortmund to part with Mats Hummels.

Fraser Forster will join Southampton for £8million -€“ and Virgil van Dijk could follow the goalkeeper to St Mary's.

Lazar Markovic is a major injury doubt to start Liverpool's season next week.

Manchester United have offered Real Madrid £55 million for winger Angel Di Maria.

Manchester United will try to sign former Arsenal midfielder Alex Song from Barcelona if they fail to buy Chile star Arturo Vidal from Juventus.

Real Madrid are preparing a £10million bid for Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech.

Atletico Madrid want to sign Tottenham striker Roberto Soldado on loan, but Spurs would prefer a permanent deal.

Thomas Vermaelen wants assurances over playing time before he agrees to join Barcelona.

Manchester United have been given until Friday to make a firm offer for Juan Cuadrado.

Atletico Madrid have approached Tottenham over a loan for Roberto Soldado.

Southampton have agreed a deal to sign Romanian defender Florin Gardos from Steaua Bucharest.

Christian Atsu's loan move from Chelsea to Everton will go through in the coming days.