Chelsea join hunt for Balotelli, Inter make offer for Arsenal pair

Mario's former boss, Jose Mourinho, says he would like to work with him again

BY Bill Mann LAST UPDATED AT 08:17 ON Fri 7 Mar 2014

IS BONKERS bound for the Bridge? Yes, says the Daily Star, which claims Mario Balotelli could be on his way to Chelsea in the summer if Jose Mourinho has his way. The Special One had a troubled relationship with the Madcap One when he was in charge of Inter Milan between 2008 and 2010, but the Star says Mourinho wants to work with the 23-year-old Balotelli again.

As we reported last month Arsenal and Spurs have both been mooted as potential destinations for Balotelli who,says the Star, is "unsettled in his native Italy and keen on a return to the Premier League". But now it seems Chelsea have picked up the scent and Mourinho is closing in on the prey. Asked if he could make a move for Bonkers in the summer, he replied: "Balotelli is with a big club at the moment but you never know the future... he's a good kid and somebody I'd like to work with again."

A return to England would certainly liven up the Premier League. The Italian frontman spent more than two fun-filled years with Manchester City, helping the Sky Blues win the league title in 2012 and helping lift the spirits of the nation with antics that included throwing a firework party in his bathroom.

Meanwhile there are rumours that Inter Milan, having secured the services of Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic, have designs on two Arsenal stars. The Daily Star reports that the Italians are after Lukas Podolski whose move to the Emirates has so far not worked out for him. The German international arrived in 2012 and performed admirably in his first season, scoring 16 goals in 42 appearances. However, injuries have hampered his progress and he appears to have fallen out of favour with Arsene Wenger.

Podolski's agent, Nassim Touihri, hardly quelled the rumours when he said: "Serie A is always a League at a high level and Inter are an interesting club that wants to invest, as we have seen recently with Vidic.”

Metro believes the Italians have made an offer of £11m for Podolski and are also after Bacary Sagna, who would be available on a free transfer in the summer. Arsenal will sit down with the players inext week "to discuss the surprise bids", says the paper.

In other news Talksport reports that Liverpool are growing "increasingly interested" in Spanish midfielder Dani Parejo. Apparently Reds gaffer Brendan Rodgers sent his scouts to Valencia recently to run the rule over Parejo and the reports back were favourable. Rodgers is now "a fan" of the playmaker, who came up through the ranks at Real Madrid and spent a short loan spell at QPR earlier in his career. But Talksport warns that Parejo is under contract for another two years with Valencia and the Spanish clubs are reluctant to sell.

From Spain to Italy where, according to Goal.com, Juventus president Andrea Agnelli is adamant Paul Pogba is going nowhere. The 20-year-old French midfielder has been linked with Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea in recent months but the player – who arrived in Turin from Manchester United in 2012 – is a firm favourite of Agnelli and he doesn't want to see him do a bunk. Speaking during a media event in conjunction with Unesco, the president declared: "Pogba is one of Juve's World Heritage Sites. He enjoys the attention of other big clubs but Juventus are already looking towards his future."

Finally, has Spanish rag El Confidential been out in the spring sunshine too long? That would account for their claim that Manchester City are set to launch a staggering €200m (£165) bid for Barcelona's Lionel Messi. In reporting the extraordinary news, website Caughtoffside says that the Sky Blues have drawn up the offer that will see them pay the Barcelona goal machine €25m per season.

Apparently the departure of Barca president Sandro Rosell and the uncertain future of coach Tata Martino have "unsettled" Messi and the 26-year-old is considering his future at Camp Nou with City an attractive option. · 

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