AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma moved to clarify suggestions he wanted his contract renewal annulled, playing down claims he was pressured.
After a drawn-out saga, Donnarumma, 18, signed a new deal with Milan in July, committing until 2021.
However, reports in Italy suggested Donnarumma’s agent Mino Raiola had told the San Siro club the shot-stopper felt pressured into agreeing the extension and wants the contract to be cancelled – making him a free agent at the end of the season – with Paris Saint-Germain among the clubs reportedly interested.
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Donnarumma was in tears prior to kick-off in Milan’s 3-0 Coppa Italia victory over Verona as he was abused by fans.
The goalkeeper dismissed reports he was pressured, with his focus on his performances.
“It was a bad evening, one I did not expect,” Donnarumma wrote on Instagram.
“I have never said or written that I suffered moral violence when I signed the contract.
“Despite everything I look forward with my head focused on the next game. Forza Milan!”
E’ stata una brutta serata e non me l’aspettavo ! Non ho mai detto ne scritto di aver subito violenza morale quando ho firmato il contratto. Nonostante tutto guardo avanti e testa alla prossima partita..forza milan!
A post shared by Gianluigi Donnarumma (@gigiodonna99) on
Milan are seventh in the Serie A, 11 points behind fourth-placed Roma.
Everton boss Sam Allardyce was non-commital when it comes to dealing Ross Barkley this winter.
The 24-year-old midfielder’s contract expires at the end of the season and he was nearly on the move over the summer, with Chelsea having agreed a deal for his services before Barkley declined.
Having also snubbed offers of a new deal at Goodison Park, the club had hoped he would reconsider that decision after the sacking of Ronald Koeman.
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The lack of a new deal has left the club in a tough spot of losing one of their most promising young talents on a free next summer, or selling him in the winter.
Tottenham are another of those to have been linked with a move for Barkley, and his current manager doesn’t seem to know exactly how the window will play out for his young star.
“It’s a difficult one,” Allardyce as said. “I haven’t had the opportunity yet to find out the true, or the whole, scenario and say, ‘Where does it lie?’ and then make a decision one way or the other.
“I’m not in control of that in too many ways. If someone comes in during January and says ‘Here you go’ and the club say, ‘Look, if he’s not going to sign for us, this has to be the case’ then I accept that.”
Barkley has been out of action since the summer but seems to be nearing a return to full steam, and the Everton boss claims he wouldn’t hesitate to put the midfielder back in the side for the rest of the season if he shows he’s ready to put in the work.
“If Ross stays until the end of the season and I feel he is giving 100 per cent to the team, like he has done since he was a kid, then he is an available asset for us until he leaves on a free transfer,” he said. “I would hate that to happen but it might do.”
The Toffees have used a run of three wins in four Premier League matches to climb up to 10th in the table after a brutal start to the season.
The side will take on Swansea in their next league match before a clash with Chelsea on December 23.
The LA Galaxy have landed 26-year-old Norwegian defender Jorgen Skjelvik as the club looks to retool the roster after a rough 2017 season.
Skjelvik comes to the Galaxy on a free transfer from Rosenborg, where he won two league titles and a Norwegian Cup.
“Jorgen has been a key player on multiple title-winning teams and has his best years of soccer in front of him,” Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid said in a club release. “He has experience playing at a very high level for club and country and he can immediately strengthen our backline. We are excited to welcome him to Los Angeles and look forward to Jorgen representing the LA Galaxy.”
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Jorgen Skjelvik is coming to Los Angeles. pic.twitter.com/JGtDaHz1qHArticle continues below
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) December 14, 2017
The defender joined Rosenborg in 2013 and went on to rack up 163 appearances for the club in all competitions.
Skjelvik has also earned seven caps with his national side.
His contract with the MLS side will become active when his current deal with Rosenborg runs out in January.
Mario Balotelli is likely to be on the move in 2018, with Nice admitting they cannot afford him without European football.
The Ligue 1 outfit proved to be the surprise package in the French top-flight last season as they mounted a shock title challenge.
They ultimately ended the campaign in third place, securing them a spot in the Champions League qualifiers.
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Their success, and that of Balotelli, also allowed them to tie their enigmatic 27-year-old striker to a new one-year contract – with the Italian happy to commit after enjoying something of a renaissance in France.
Nice have, however, slipped into mid-table this term and fear failure to reach the top six could cost them the services of a top talent, with club president Jean-Pierre Rivere telling RMC Sport: “Without Europe, it’ll be difficult to keep hold of Balotelli.
“He is exceptional on the field, he is changing his style of football and improving. I don’t know if he’ll remain with us next season, as it depends on results.
“Balotelli commands a salary of a certain level and we cannot afford that without European competition, even if we’ll do everything we can to keep him.”
Balotelli netted 17 times for Nice in all competitions last season, having been offered an opportunity to rebuild his reputation following a forgettable stint at Liverpool.
He has already added another 15 efforts to that tally this term, in just 20 appearances.
The former Manchester City and Inter forward is starting to look more like a man who has won league titles in England and Italy, but it remains to be seen where he will be turning out in 2018-19.
Jose Mourinho wants Mesut Ozil at Manchester United because a deal would offer “a poke in the eye” to old adversary Arsene Wenger, says Martin Keown.
The Portuguese has rarely seen eye-to-eye with his Arsenal counterpart throughout his various spells in the Premier League.
A feud which first ignited during an initial stint at Chelsea carried over into a second spell at Stamford Bridge and now at Old Trafford.
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But while the pair have regularly engaged in tactical battles on the touchline, and the occasional war of words, Mourinho is now seeking to hit his rival where it hurts in the transfer market with a mooted approach for a World Cup-winning playmaker.
Offering his take as to why United are reported to be keen on landing Ozil as his Arsenal contract runs down, former Gunners defender Keown told the Daily Mail: “I think Jose Mourinho would love for that move to happen, for two reasons.
“One, because of the quality of the player, and two because it would be a poke in the eye for Arsene Wenger
“That rivalry between the two managers has not gone away.”
Ozil, like team-mate Alexis Sanchez, is yet to agree an extension to a deal at Arsenal which is due to expire in the summer of 2018.
If no agreement can be reached, then the Germany international will continue to head towards the free agent pool.
Alternatively, the Gunners may be tempted to sell in January if a suitable offer is tabled for an asset that is only going to decrease in monetary value.
United have been linked with an approach for some time, but La Liga giants Barcelona are also said to be keen – with Ozil having impressed once before in Spanish football during a productive spell with Real Madrid.