Barcelona don't want Van Persie, City offer stars for Ibrahimovic
Balotelli or Tevez could make way for Swede, Real Madrid may join Van Persie chase
HAVING won the Premier League by the slimmest of margins, Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has decided he wants to make things a little bit more exciting next season, by ditching one of his proven strikers in return for Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
According to the Manchester Evening News, Mancini is prepared to offer either Mario Balotelli or Carlos Tevez to AC Milan in return for the Swedish international, whose record against English opposition is, to put it kindly, mixed.
The paper notes that both Balotelli and Tevez have tested the manager's patience this season, and Mancini apparently seems to believe that he will enjoy a less testing relationhsip with the famously truculent Swede. He also sees Ibrahimovic as the man who could make a difference in the Champions League.
But Ibrahimovic is not the only big name striker Mancini has his eye on, and the paper reaffirms his desire to land Robin Van Persie from Arsenal.
The good news for Mancini on that front is that he has one less competitor in the race for the Gunners hitman. That's because in the eyes of Barcelona the Dutchman is over the hill and overpriced.
According to goal.com, the once-great Spanish club, whose trophy cabinet is as empty as Kenny Dalglish's diary, have backed off from making a bid for the Dutchman, who turns 29 in August. Goal.com says the reasons are simple, "the combination of Van Persie's age... and the expense of a £20 million transfer fee plus expected £10m-a-year salary".
Consequently, Barcelona have pulled out of the chase, leaving the field open for City, who remain keen to sign the player who scored 30 league goals this season. However, goal.com suggests Real Madrid may make a late bid for Van Persie if Jose Mourinho can persuade the club to loosen the purse strings.
One of Arsenal's old boys, gangly Patrick Vieira, has told the Daily Mirror that the club is in danger of losing Van Persie because of their failure to win any silverware.
Vieira, now Manchester City's football development executive, warned, "If they lose Robin this year, it will be a trauma... Robin wants to win trophies - and Arsenal have to prove he can do it with them. We know that Robin loves Arsenal. That is not the question - the real question is how Arsene Wenger will convince Robin they can win trophies."
Elsewhere and Talksport claims that both City and Arsenal look unlikely to lure Younes Belhanda from Montpellier over the summer. The 22-year-old Moroccan magician has displayed his full range of tricks this season in guiding Montpellier to the brink of their first French title and his midfield skills haven't gone unnoticed across the Channel.
But with the Mediterranean club guaranteed Champions League football next season he doesn't envisage a move. "I want to stay," Belhanda is quoted as saying. "Playing the Champions League with my club is something extraordinary."
Meanwhile, if Sky Italia is to be believed, then City are as interested in Parma midfielder Sebastian Giovinco as Prince Philip is in a blonde with a red zip-up dress. Apparently the 25-year-old playmaker has caught the eye of Sky Blues boss Roberto Mancini.
At least that's what the player's agent, Claudio Pasqualin, told Sky Italia, and as everyone in football knows an agent's word is as binding as an apology from Carlos Tevez. "There are so many clubs interested in Giovinco, big clubs across Europe," Pasqualin said, adding: "In the Premier League there was a contact with Manchester City."
Of course there was, and Mario Balotelli never plays with fireworks indoors. Asked how much Parma would expect to receive for Giovinco, Pasqualin replied: "He is worth €40million."
The Sun says that Chelsea frontman Salomon Kalou wants to return to his old club Feyenoord. The 26-year-old Ivorian left Rotterdam for the Bridge in 2006 but becomes a free agent this summer: "Feyenoord can call me any time, they are the first name on my list," Kalou says, adding: "Let me win the Champions League final and then I will think about Feyenoord." ·