Arsenal move for Balotelli after Barcelona bust-up

Apr 22, 2010
Bill Mann

Transfer Talk: The combustible Inter striker is on his way out of the San Siro after latest row

Italian media report that Inter Milan striker Mario Balotelli is exit-bound after another shocking display of petulance from the 19-year-old after the club's win over Barcelona, news which is sure to interest both Arsenal and Manchester City.

Balotelli and Inter boss Jose Mourinho haven't seen eye to eye for much of the season with the 'Special One' preferring to use the frontman as a substitute. When the teenager was brought on for the final fifteen minutes of Tuesday's night Champions League match with Barcelona, his sulky demeanour didn't sit well with the San Siro faithful.

Their booing led Balotelli to rip off his shirt at the final whistle and storm off the pitch while his team mates cavorted. Javier Zanetti accused him of "ruining" the celebrations and the strop earned him a reprimand from elder statesman Marco Materazzi. That, say sources in Italy, was the final straw for Inter president Massimo Moratti and he has allegedly ordered Balotelli to be jettisoned in the summer.

Despite his reputation for histrionics, Balotelli, an Italy U21 star, has attracted interest from several clubs with Arsenal known to be among his most fervent admirers. The Gunners reportedly made enquiries about him back in January's transfer window and reports suggest boss Arsene Wenger might be about to make a bid in June. Meanwhile City manager Roberto Mancini has publicly stated his desire to bring Balotelli to Eastlands to bolster the Sky Blues' attack.

Meanwhile Italy paper Corriere dello Sport reports that the alleged deal between Manchester United and AC Milan involving Dimitar Berbatov will only go ahead if the English club are prepared to take Holland striker Klaas Jan Huntelaar in part exchange. The 26-year-old Dutchman has struggled to fit in at Milan since his arrival from Real Madrid, and the Italians would like to use him to facilitate the deal for Berbatov, who apparently has a €22m price tag. That's too much for Milan, hence their wish to throw Huntelaar into the bargain.

The Daily Mail reports that Manchester City will announce the signing of Jerome Boateng from SV Hamburg any day now. The paper says that the younger brother of Portsmouth's Kevin-Prince is on the brink of completing an £11m transfer from the German club. The 21-year-old centre-back will arrive at Eastlands in the summer, after he and his brother have made World Cup history. Born in Berlin to a Ghanaian father, the boys have pledged their allegiance to different countries with Kevin-Prince playing for Ghana and Jerome for Germany. The pair are scheduled to clash on June 23 when the two nations meet in a Pool D match

Finally the Daily Mirror says that Fulham intend to bring Jelle van Damme to Craven Cottage next season. The Belgian international, who can play in central defence or left-back, had a taste of Premier League football five years ago for Southampton and is keen to return. Currently with Anderlecht, the 6ft 4in van Damme is out of contract in the summer and the Mirror says Fulham have made a £2m bid for the 26-year-old. "I have received a concrete offer from a club in England, although I won't yet say which one, van Damme is quoted as saying, adding: "I have always said that I will not pass up a second chance to play in the Premier League."

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