Mario Balotelli: agent denies rumours of Liverpool exit
Reports suggest that Mario Balotelli could be on his way to Napoli or Inter Milan in January
With Liverpool's season collapsing quicker than, well, Arsenal's, the future of Mario Balotelli continues to set the Fourth Estate frothing.
Rumours have emerged in recent weeks suggesting the 24-year-old Italian striker could be sold in the new year – just six months after he arrived at Anfield in a £16m deal with AC Milan.
But according to the Daily Star Balotelli is going nowhere in January despite the fact he's managed just two goals in 12 appearances for the Reds. Asked about interest from Napoli and Inter Milan the player's agent, Mino Railoa, rubbished the rumours, saying: "A return to Inter [where Balotelli began his troubled career]...even Naples. Mario does not return in Italy."
And Raiola was adamant his client will tough it out on Merseyside in the months ahead. "He lacks the goals [and] doesn't run well but it is a time that must pass…we hope to have it resolved as soon as possible."
In other news goal.com reports that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has ruled out a move for Borussia Dortmund star Marco Reus in the New Year.
The 25-year-old, recently sidelined for the rest of the year with an ankle injury, has been linked with several Premier League clubs since the summer, but Mourinho slapped down suggestions he could be coming to the Bridge after Christmas.
"We are not interested, not at all," replied the Special One when asked about making a play for Reus.
Meanwhile a teammate of Reus's at Dortmund, Ilkay Gundogan has "alerted" Arsenal and Manchester United to the fact he could be open to a move. That's Talksport's take on comments made by the 24-year-old Germany international to Turkish TV's TRT1 Stadyum.
Despite an injury-ravaged year, Gundogan is being monitored by several clubs in Spain as well as the Premier League pair. Asked by TRT1 about his ambitions, Gundogan candidly replied: "I want to look towards the future and make up for lost time with sporting success. Playing abroad has always been one of my main objectives. If I do leave here one day, I'd like to play in Spain or England."
Finally, Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has denied rumours linking the club with an audacious move for Barcelona hitman Lionel Messi, the Independent reports.
The Argentine striker used the Sky Blues' training facilities last week prior to the friendly against Portugal at Old Trafford and that led to gossip that Messi might be warming to the idea of seeing out his career in England. But when the idea was put to Pellegrini on Monday night ahead of tonight's Champions League against Bayern Munich, he replied: "The rumours are only rumours…the record he has got reflects how important he is for Barcelona."