‘It’s likely that Mario will leave’ – Nice reveal Balotelli departure plans

Nice expect Mario Balotelli to leave the club when the striker’s contract expires at the end of the season.

Balotelli has scored 22 goals in all competitions this season, 14 of which have come in Ligue 1, but Nice are eighth and unlikely to qualify for Europe.

The 27-year-old’s agent Mino Raiola has suggested Serie A title contenders Napoli would be “ideal” for his client, but leaders Juventus have confirmed they are not interested in Balotelli.

Nice president Jean-Pierre Rivere and coach Lucien Favre have both confirmed Balotelli is not expected to agree a contract renewal to spend a third season at the club.

“It’s more likely than not that Mario will leave,” Favre told Canal+ after Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain beat his side 2-1 on Sunday.

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Before the game Rivere also indicated the club has accepted Balotelli will be moving on at the conclusion of the campaign.

“It is likely that Mario may be leaving to see other horizons,” Rivere said before the match.

“We’ll see what happens in the transfer window.”

Balotelli, meanwhile, believes he has matured at Nice and can further improve in the years to come.

However, he remains focused on continuing to progress and helping the club to a strong finish to the Ligue 1 campaign.

“This is one of the best seasons of my career, but I can do a lot more,” Balotelli told Telefoot ahead of Sunday’s game against PSG

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“When you grow up and you get more mature, it’s easier to just focus on football. This is the most important thing I’ve learned here.

“For us, the goal is to at least qualify for the Europa League. That is most the most important goal for us.”

Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco has suggested he would be interested in having Balotelli at the Stadio Olimpico, with a Serie A return looking the striker’s most likely move.


Van Gaal: I rejected €25m offer from China

Louis van Gaal says he is rejecting offers to return to coaching “every week”, including an approach from a Chinese club worth €25 million.

The 66-year-old has been out of the game since he was relieved of his duties at Manchester United and replaced by Jose Mourinho in 2016, a year before his contract expired.

The Dutchman had previously achieved Champions League, UEFA Cup and Eredivisie success at Ajax before going on to win league titles at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and AZ, and guided Netherlands to a third place finish at the 2014 World Cup.

His reputation in football remains strong enough to attract some lucrative contract offers, but although Van Gaal says he has not retired from the game, he is enjoying life away from it and has not been attracted by the many clubs and countries who have come calling.

“I still get offers every week, which I find incredible,” he told Bild am Sonntag. “Having coached Ajax, Barcelona, ??the Netherlands, FC Bayern and Manchester United like I did, it is difficult for any offer to be interesting.”

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“I like my life the way it is at the moment, although I do not rule out that I will be a coach again. 

“I have already rejected offers from World Cup participants, most recently also a €25 million offer from China.”

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Van Gaal explained that even offers from one of Europe’s top sides would not be enough to convince him to take another job.

“For example, Paris Saint-Germain is a fantastic club, but I would not do that anymore, I have to learn a new language and French is difficult for me,” he added. 

“Communication is the most important thing for a coach, but PSG is a top team.”


I wanted Lewandowski at Manchester United – Van Gaal

Former Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has lamented the fact that he was not able to sign Robert Lewandowski for the Old Trafford side.

The Dutchman led the Red Devils from 2014 until the summer of 2016, at which point he was replaced by Jose Mourinho.

Van Gaal did not enjoy the success expected of him in England, despite lifting the FA Cup in his final match in charge, but he has grumbled that he was not able to land his prime transfer target.

“I also wanted to train Lewandowski and wanted to bring him to Manchester United,” he told Bild. “He’s currently the best striker in the world.

“The price was not a problem for Manchester United, but Bayern did not want to let him go.”

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Lewandowski has recently been linked with a move away from the Allianz Arena side after changing his agent, with the likes of Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain said to hold an interest.

The Poland international has scored 100 Bundesliga goals since joining Bayern in 2014 from Borussia Dortmund, while he has 142 in all competitions.

Van Gaal, meanwhile, failed to sign a single centre forward during his two years at United, though he did capture Memphis Depay from PSV and Anthony Martial from Monaco.


Transfer news & rumours LIVE: Neymar wants £1m per week at PSG

Neymar demands PSG pay rise

Neymar has demanded a weekly wage of £1 million-per-week as a condition of staying at PSG, according to The Times .

The Brazil international has been heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid, just 12 months after moving to France for a world-record €222 million from Barcelona.

And Neymar has now seemingly used that interest as leverage as he looks to extract a staggering pay packet from his current employers.

The 26-year-old, who has been struggling with an ankle ligament injury and missed PSG’s Champions League exit to Real, reportedly earns around £537,000-per-week currently.

Agent shopping Pogba to potential buyers 

Paul Pogba Manchester United

Mino Raiola is sounding out potential buyers for Paul Pogba, The Mirror reports. 

The stance has upset Man Utd boss Jose Mourinho, but the Portuguese boss has several players on his squad who are represented by the super agent. 

Pogba, the report claims, is ready to ride out the storm with the Premier League giants. 

Man Utd eye James

James Rodriguez Bayern Munich

Manchester United are interested in securing Bayern Munich midfielder James Rodriguez this summer, report Don Balon .

The Colombia international is currently on loan in Bavaria from Real Madrid, but United hope to convince Real to cut that deal short, as they bid to reinforce Jose Mourinho’s squad this summer.

Barca plan to sign Isco

Isco Real Madrid

Barcelona want to sign Isco from fierce rivals Real Madrid, according to Don Balon .

Barca want to replace Andres Iniesta with his Spain team-mate, but are aware that Real are unlikely to sell him to them, so are subsequently hopeful Isco will join another club for two years, before looking to move to Camp Nou.

Man Utd trigger Young contract extension

Ashley Young Manchester United Watford

Manchester United have triggered a one-year contract extension for left-back Ashley Young, report The Sun.

Young has been in excellent form thus far this season, earning an England recall along the way, and has become one of Jose Mourinho’s most trusted lieutenants.

Spurs to open Dembele contract talks

Moussa Dembele, Tottenham

Tottenham are set to open talks with Mousa Dembele over a new contract, according to The Sun .

The Belgium international has been one of Spurs’ stand-out performers this season but his current deal expires at the end of next season and the club are keen to tie him down, with Dembele eyeing a wage packet worth £100,000-per-week.

Elsewhere, Spurs are interested in signing Red Bull Salzburg midfielder Amadou Haidara, with the 20-year-old tipped as a star of the future.

Man United move ahead in Fred race

Fred, Shakhtar Donetsk, Man City, Man Utd

Manchester United have moved in front of Man City in the race to sign Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk, reports the Daily Star .

In fact, the main rival for the Brazilian, according to the report, is now French side PSG. 

Luis Enrique stalls on Chelsea deal

Luis Enrique

Former Barcelona boss Luis Enrique is stalling on taking a deal to manage Chelsea with one eye on the situation at Arsenal, reports the Daily Star

Should the Gunners decide to part ways with Arsene Wenger, the 46-year-old would like to take charge in north London rather than moving to manage the Blues, where the managerial position is less stable. 

Klopp wants Draxler at Liverpool

Julian Draxler PSG Bordeaux Ligue 1 30092017

Jurgen Klopp wants to bring Julian Draxler to Anfield, Transfermarketweb  reports. 

The German manager got to know the PSG attacker well when both were in the Bundesliga, and wants to add him to the Reds’ considerable attacking group. 

Bayern want to swap James for Dembele

Ousmane Dembele Barcelona La Liga

Bayern Munich are looking to sign James Rodriguez to a permanent deal with an eye toward a swap move for Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele, Don Balon claims. 

The former Real Madrid star is ready for a return to Spain and could have a door open for a return to Los Blancos should Zinedine Zidane depart the club. 

But Barcelona are also interested, and with the club on the verge of a deal for Antoine Griezmann would be willing to move Dembele back to the Bundesliga with the Colombian in part exchange. 

Lukaku: Man Utd will add this summer

Romelu Lukaku Manchester United celebration

Manchester United are planning for a big off-season according to star striker Romelu Lukaku, who claimed “a lot of good players” will move to Old Trafford in 2018-19.

“We are Manchester United, we have to improve every year and I know that a lot of players, a lot of good players, will come in next season. That’s for sure,” he said. 

Read the full story on Goal.  

Madrid set to move for Bonucci

Leonardo Bonucci AC Milan

Real Madrid are weighing up a move for AC Milan defender Leonardo Bonucci, according to CalcioMercato .

While Milan may not be willing to let Bonucci depart after just one season, Los Blancos have a list of defenders that also includes David Luiz, Milan Skriniar and Clement Lenglet as they look to rebuild in the summer. 

Son & Spurs to discuss new deal

Heung-Min Son Tottenham

Tottenham and forward Heung-Min Son are set for talks over a new contract, Sky Sports reports.

Son’s current deal runs through 2020, but the club are now ready to discuss new terms as the South Korean approaches the 20-goal mark for the second season running. 

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Madrid favourites for Alisson

Alisson Roma Shakhtar Donetsk

Liverpool are set to miss out on Roma goalkeepr Alisson as Real Madrid are poised to swoop, reports The Mirror

Jurgen Klopp was prepared to smash the world transfer record for a goalkeeper for the £70million-rated 25-year-old, but Madrid are now looking to go even higher to land their top target.


Lukaku confident Man Utd will add ‘a lot of good players’ this summer

Manchester United are planning for a big off-season according to star striker Romelu Lukaku, who claimed “a lot of good players” will move to Old Trafford in 2018-19.

United invested heavily this season, signing Lukaku, Nemanja Matic, and Victor Lindelof in July before Alexis Sanchez arrived from Arsenal in January, but the Red Devils have taken a back seat to neighbours Manchester City this term.

Jose Mourinho’s side are second and 16 points adrift of City in the Premier League, while United sensationally crashed out of the Champions League in the round of 16 on Tuesday.

And United – who overcame Brighton and Hove Albion 2-0 in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Saturday – are set to be active in the transfer market again, according to Lukaku.

“We are Manchester United, we have to improve every year and I know that a lot of players, a lot of good players, will come in next season. That’s for sure,” said Lukaku, who scored against Brighton to take his season tally to 25 goals.

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“That is something I look forward to, in order to improve the squad, and what the manager also looks forward to because next year we have to win.

“We will have to try and win as many trophies as we can.”

Mourinho was scathing of United , despite their victory over Brighton at Old Trafford, accusing his players of being scared to play, while he was also critical of Luke Shaw’s performance on Saturday.

The Portuguese’s post-match comments came after his passionate 12-minute monologue during Friday’s news conference, in which he defended his record as United manager following their 2-1 aggregate defeat to Sevilla.

Despite the scrutiny over United’s exploits this term, Lukaku said: “I don’t believe we are really that short in being able to compete in the big ­competitions.

“We knew immediately after the game against Seville that we weren’t good enough, so we accept the criticism.”

Lukaku also leapt to the defence of under-fire team-mate Sanchez, who was an unused substitute in the FA Cup clash.

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Sanchez has only scored once in 10 appearances for United – against Huddersfield Town in February – since his high-profile transfer from Arsenal.

“As long as he keeps working hard like he does, I think he’ll come good for us,” the Belgium international added. “He is a quality player with a lot of assets.

“Look at my situation. I started really well and then had the dry spell in November and December. But at the end of the day with hard work you are always going to get through it.”


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