Arsenal lead race to sign Mario Balotelli, Sagna off to City
The infamous Italian striker is no longer wanted at AC Milan and could be heading to London
HE'S bonkers, he's barmy and Mario Balotelli could be on his way to the Emirates. The Balotelli bombshell has been dropped by the Daily Star, and the paper claims that Arsenal "lead Monaco" in the race to sign the madcap Italian marksman.
Apparently an Italian source has told the Star that AC Milan have "had enough of the controversial striker's antics", and are looking to sell him on in the summer for around £20m to £25m. Since arriving at the San Siro from Manchester City in January 2013, Balotelli has netted 26 times in 42 appearances for AC Milan but his foibles have drawn criticism from club owner Silvio Berlusconi and the Star alleges that the former Italian Prime Minister wants to offload the striker. French outfit Monaco have expressed an interest but it's reported in Italy that Arsenal gaffer Arsene Wenger is "interested" in signing Balotelli in the hope he can provide some fireworks up front next season.
As he heads to the Emirates, Balotelli may pass Bacary Sagna heading in the other direction, and if he does he can give the French defender some tips about life as a Manchester City player, because that is what Sagna is about to become. The Daily Mail claims that the FA Cup final will be Sagna's final game as a Gunner and afterwards he will finalise a deal with City, worth £100,000-a-week.
The Frenchman's contract expires at the end of the season and after failing to agree a new deal at the Emirates he will depart for the Etihad.
In other news, Metro reports that the future of Chelsea defender David Luiz is far from certain although one thing does look certain – he won't be at Stamford Bridge next season. It had been expected that the Brazilian blocker would sign for Barcelona but Metro says Bayern Munich have targeted Luiz as one of their summer signings and are even "willing to offer Mario Mandzukic to Chelsea in exchange". Sources in Spain believe Barcelona are prepared to meet Chelsea's asking price of £32m but Bayern boss Pep Guardiola is purportedly putting together a deal that would involve Mandzukic and a stack of cash heading from Munich to west London.
Talksport reports that Liverpool are "willing to meet" Dani Parejo's £20.4m release clause fee such is their desire to see him in action at Anfield. Taking its cue from Spanish newspaper Superdeporte, Talksport adds that the Reds have sent scouts to Valencia several times this season to monitor his progress and an offer will soon be wired to the La Liga outfit. Apparently Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes Parejo would be "the ideal addition to his midfield" though the former Real Madrid playmaker won't be bought on the cheap. Talksport say that Valencia are determined to accept not a penny less for the 25-year-old Parejo, who is also being watched closely by Champions League finalists Atletico Madrid.
Finally, the Daily Mirror says that Everton "are lining up a move" for Tottenham and England winger Andros Townsend. Toffees boss Roberto Martinez reportedly made a play for the 22-year-old last summer but Spurs knocked back his suggestion of a loan deal. But the Mirror says Martinez will try again in the coming weeks, as will Newcastle manager Alan Pardew, who is searching for additional firepower as he resigns himself to losing Loic Remy. An ankle injury has ruled Townsend out of England's World Cup squad but he's expected to be fit for the start of the 2014-15 campaign. ·