Suarez scuppers Sanchez deal, Arsenal boss rules out Balotelli

Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez

Liverpool may be unable to sell striker after World Cup disgrace, Balotelli rumours 'not true' says Wenger

BY Bill Mann LAST UPDATED AT 08:36 ON Wed 25 Jun 2014

While the world watches and waits to see what will happen to Luis Suarez after he apparently bit a chunk out of Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini, the transfer rumour mill continues to turn. But what impact will the Uruguayan's actions have on Arsenal's pursuit of Barcelona winger Alexis Sanchez, who has been one of the stars of the World Cup so far?

According to the Daily Star the Gunners are hoping to "pip Liverpool and Manchester United" to the player. The Star says that Sanchez has been told by Barcelona that he is free to leave the Camp Nou this summer, provided any buyer matches their £20m valuation. Liverpool have apparently already held preliminary talks with Barcelona but reports in Italy suggest Arsenal are "the new front runners" to sign Sanchez after Gunners' gaffer Arsene Wenger "held positive talks" with the Chilean's representative.

The news will come as a blow not just to Liverpool and United, but also Juventus, with the Italian champions said to be eager to sign the winger.

However, many of the reports about Sanchez's exit are based on the assumption that Barcelona were about to sign Suarez. Will the Catalan club still be interested in the Uruguayan after his exploits on Tuesday?

Not everyone thinks so. The Times says the Real Madrid and Barcelona would have to think long and hard about whether signing Suarez would be "worth the trouble" and the Mirror says Suarez could not play for a club with the "image and moral code" of Barca.

However, conspiracy theorist Neil Warnock has told Talksport that he believes the bite was part of an attempt to force through a move away from Liverpool.

Onto better behaved footballers and Metro claims that Arsenal are looking to wrap up their signing of Mario Balotelli from AC Milan in time for 10 July – when they unveil their new kit. It's believed Arsenal are close to completing the £27m deal for the Italian striker with negotiations well advanced with the Serie A club. That will please Puma, the Gunners' new kit manufacturers, who want Balotelli to feature in the advertising when the new shirts are launched next month.

Arsenal are also said to be keen to get Balotelli in the Puma gear so they can shift shirts the way they did after signing Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid last summer. Metro says Milan are "yet to hear from Arsenal" although there is speculation Wenger has been having talks with Balotelli's agent in Brazil.

To make matters worse none other than Wenger himself has rubbished the rumours linking Mad Mario to the Emirates. As ESPN reports, Wenger, while on duty with BEin Sport in Brazil told fellow guest Ruud Gullit that the rumours were "pure invention".

"We cannot believe absolutely everything that is on the internet or is in newspapers. It's not true," said Wenger. Presumably the same goes for the television.

It looks like Fiorentina are the latest club to set off in pursuit of veteran striker Samuel Eto'o.  The Cameroon international, who will be a free agent once his contract with Chelsea expires, is said to be wanted by Everton, Arsenal, Juventus and Roma. According to the Daily Express, Eto'o has spurned an offer from Roma because it didn't meet his wage demands of £60,000-a-week. He's also after a two year contract but no club seems ready to offer such a deal to the 33-year-old frontman.

However, Fiorentina are reportedly happy to pay him what he wants and it now depends whether Eto'o will settle for a one year deal.

Elsewhere and Talksport reports that Manchester United defender Alexander Buttner has agreed a switch to Dynamo Moscow. Since joining the Red Devils from Vitesse Arnhem in the summer of 2012, the left-back has found his first-team opportunities as limited as an England game plan. In total the Dutchman has made just 28 appearances in all competitions and now Buttner has done a bunk to Russia. Taking its cue from Dynamo's official website, Talksport says that the 25-year-old has already signed a contract with the club and only "technical details" remain to be ironed out. Buttner also told the website: "I want to play in the Champions League and win trophies." · 

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