Andrea Pirlo wants Mario Balotelli at Juventus

Jul 5, 2012
Bill Mann

As Italian captain courts his compatriot, Man U consider £30m move for teen starlet Lucas Moura

ITALIAN captain Andrea Pirlo has urged fellow countryman Mario Balotelli to join him at Juventus after the combustible striker produced some of his finest ever performances at Euro 2012.  

The Metro reports how Pirlo wants to tempt the Man City striker back to Italy. "Would I take Balotelli to Juventus? Of course I would," said Pirlo, whose club is said to have put aside £30m for a new frontman. "I'd gladly take him to Turin. Mario is a guy who needs you to stay close to him."

Balotelli is in hot demand after his brace of goals knocked Germany out of the tournament in the semis, but question marks still remain about his temperament. Pirlo, who himself was in inspirational form during the Euros, insists he can get the best out of Balotelli. "I know how to talk to him," he said. "We both come from Brescia and when we are in the national team we speak in dialect".

Officials from Manchester United have flown out to Brazil to secure the signing of Sao Paulo starlet Lucas Moura. According to the Daily Mirror, the Sao Paulo playmaker is wanted by a number of clubs, including Chelsea and Real Madrid, but Alex Ferguson has acted first by dispatching a delegation to "thrash out a deal" for the 19-year-old Moura as well as convincing his family that life at Old Trafford would be agreeable to all concerned.

The Mirror goes on to claim that Ferguson is in the throes of persuading the United board to meet Sao Paulo's asking price of £30m for the teenage midfielder, who is expected to sign for the Red Devils this month.

The hype over the Hulk has increased with the news that the Brazilian striker's agent believes his client should be plying his trade in the Premier League. Hulk, whose family know him as Givanildo Vieira de Souza, has been linked with most of Europe's top clubs in recent months but in an interview with Portuguese radio station Antena 1, Teodoro Fonseca declared: "His dream is to play at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and it is my opinion that the Premier League is the best place he could play."

Chelsea are believed to be leading the chase for the Hulk. The Blues now have space for an exotically-named striker following the departure of Didier Drogba.

The 25-year-old Hulk joined Porto in 2008 and since then has grown in stature to the point where Fonseca believes he is "the most coveted player in Europe". It's believed Chelsea will have to find £40m if they wish to get their hands on him.

Still with Porto and winger James Rodriguez has given Manchester United the flick-off. The 20-year-old has been on Alex Ferguson's radar for a while but the crafty Colombian wingman has pledged his troth to the Portuguese club in an interview with daily rag O Jogo. "I want to stay with Porto," said Rodriguez. "I am happy and very pleased to be able to continue with the club."

The youngster, who has been capped five times by his country, was asked about United's interest and replied: "When the news came out about Manchester United, I knew nothing about it. I want to win more titles here."

Will Gylfi Sigurdsson win any titles under Andre Villas-Boas now that he's signed up with Spurs? The Icelandic midfielder was unveiled as the Lilywhites latest acquisition within hours of Villas-Boas being installed as the new manager at the Lane.

The 22-year-old Sigurdsson had a fruitful spell with Swansea last season on loan from Hoffenheim and had been expected to sign on permanently with the Welsh club. But when Tottenham came calling the norseman couldn't say no and he has joined in what the Metro claims is an £8m deal.

Talking of loans, that's what Arsenal have done with up-and-coming Costa Rican striker Joel Campbell. The London Evening Standard says the Gunners have loaned the 20-year-old to Real Betis for the forthcoming season, following his impressive season playing for Lorient in the French first division.

The Standard says that Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger believes Campbell is ready for first-team football at the Emirates, but there remains a problem with obtaining a work permit for the Central American and for the time being the Nutty Professor, in between slagging off Spain for being boring and dealing with Robin Van Persie's desertion, has decided Campbell should better himself with Betis.

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Andrea, sorry but Balotelli is staying with us, he's far too good to lose, even to you mate, who I have a lot of respect for and I feel sorry AC Milan treated you the way they did.

As for United, it wouldn't surprise me if they did go for Moura, but I can't see them signing him.