Balotelli heads to Liverpool in shock £16m transfer

Mario Balotelli during pre-season with Milan

'Desperate' Brendan Rodgers changes his mind about Madcap Mario as he hunts striker

BY Bill Mann LAST UPDATED AT 08:45 ON Thu 21 Aug 2014

Madcap Mario is on his way back to the Premier League after Liverpool and AC Milan agreed a £16m transfer for Mario Baltotelli and everyone's favourite fireworks safety ambassador bade farewell to his current team-mates in Italy.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the deal is not completely cut and dried but the player's agent Mino Raiola has travelled to Merseyside to thrash out the finer points of the deal.

The news, which has sent the media into a frenzy, came after rumours began circulating that the unexpected deal was on the cards. But as the BBC notes, Liverpool's hunt for a replacement for Luis Suarez has not gone according to plan this summer. New signing Rickie Lambert is seen as a bench player, Italian Fabio Borini is expected to join Sunderland. Teenager Divock Origi has been signed but loaned back to his original club Lille, and Loic Remy failed an Anfield medical.

It has left Brendan Rodgers "desperate to sign a proven international striker" says the Telegraph, and even though he ruled out a move for Balotelli earlier in the summer he has now changed his mind.

The move will disappoint Arsenal fans, who had hoped the notorious forward would head to the Emirates. He was heavily linked with a move to the Gunners only for Arsene Wenger to rule out a deal after signing Alexis Sanchez.

Down in London there is more bad news for the Gunners after Arsenal club captain and midfield general Mikel Arteta was ruled out for at least a fortnight with an ankle injury following the Gunners fiery encounter with Besiktas, and it could force Arsene Wenger back into the transfer market.

The Guardian claims that the Nutty Professor is close to wrapping up a deal for Olympiakos defender Kostas Manolas "for around £6m”, while the Daily Star says that Wenger has his eyes set on Newcastle midfielder Cheick Tiote.

Apparently the Gunners will "move to fend off a rival bid” for the 28-year-old midfielder from Russian side Locomotiv Moscow. The Star says claims that Tiote is "keen to end his four-year stay with the Magpies” and the Russians surprised Arsenal by making the first move earlier in the week. Their initial bid was rejected by Newcastle, and though they are expected to make a second offer, Arsenal are likely to come in with a substantial bid of their own for the powerhouse playmaker to strengthen their fragile midfield.

And they could do with Tiote's muscle. Arsenal's team on Saturday was the smallest and lightest to take the field at the weekend.

In other news Norwich City have confirmed the capture of Cameron Jerome from Stoke City. Goal.com reports that the 28-year-old, who spent last season on loan at Crystal Palace, has signed a three-year deal at Carrow Road, bringing the curtain down on his three seasons at the Britannia Stadium. "Cameron brings power and pace to our attacking options," said Canaries boss Neil Adams. "He works really hard for the team and he gives us that strength in depth that we'll need over a tough season." · 

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