Balotelli would fit in at Marseille – Raiola

Mario Balotelli would be well suited to a move to Marseille according to agent Mino Raiola, who said the Italian striker can “marry well with the Marseillais mentality”.

Reports have linked the Nice target man with a €10 million switch to Marseille that would bring an end to his two-year spell at the Allianz Riviera.

Balotelli has scored 33 Ligue 1 goals in 51 appearances for Les Aiglons, but Nice slumped to a disappointing eighth-placed finish in the 2017-18 season.

Marseille, meanwhile, finished fourth and reached the Europa League final under head coach Rudi Garcia, and Raiola told RMC that a move to OM could be on the cards.

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“We have good relations with Marseille, I know the director very well,” said Balotelli’s agent. “We’re going to see – it’s too early.

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“Mario is an emotional player, he always gives 100 per cent. He can marry very well with the Marseillais mentality, that’s for sure.

“The Marseillais are like that, they are hot. Mario is hot. We’ll see.”


Kante responds to PSG links as Chelsea exit talk mounts during World Cup duty

N’Golo Kante is paying little attention to talk of a possible summer switch to Paris Saint-Germain, with the Chelsea midfielder the latest man to have sparked exit speculation at Stamford Bridge.

Having helped Leicester and the Blues to back-to-back Premier League title successes, the 27-year-old was brought back down to earth with a bump last season alongside a number of team-mates in west London.

Chelsea did counter their failure to secure a top-four finish with FA Cup success, but uncertainty reigns when it comes to the respective futures of several high-profile figures.

Head coach Antonio Conte continues to be linked with a move elsewhere, while the likes of Alvaro Morata, Thibaut Courtois, Eden Hazard and now Kante have sparked transfer rumours.

The latter is, however, fully focused on World Cup duty with France for now, telling reporters when quizzed on the PSG links: “I am not concerned with all that.

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“Today, I am at Chelsea, and today I am currently living and playing in the World Cup, that is what comes first.

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“I am not paying attention to what is being said on the club side of things at the moment.”

Kante played the full 90 minutes for France in their Russia 2018 opener against Australia, with Les Bleus battling their way to a 2-1 win.

He linked up with his international colleagues having figured in 34 of Chelsea’s Premier League fixtures last season and 48 games in total.


Man Utd Scouting Report: How did €100 million target Milinkovic-Savic play vs Costa Rica?

Manchester United target Sergej Milinkovic-Savic was central to Serbia’s tactics but failed really to live up to the €100 million price tag that Lazio want for the No.10.

Serbia controlled possession and the play but it took veteran Aleksandar Kolarov’s trademark free kick to break down the five-man Costa Rican defence in Samara, as a winning start was essential to Group E with Brazil and Switzerland to come.

Milinkovic-Savic made only his fifth appearance for Serbia, but he is already the star and covered the most ground in the first half as he aims to move around the defensive Costa Rica side.

Tight chest control, intelligent runs behind, and smart passes under pressure showed that 23-year-old had been overlooked for too long by ex-Serbia boss Slavoljub Muslin.

Juventus and Real Madrid have also been rumoured to want the attacker, as it seems Lazio will have the option to easily cash in, if needed.

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However, €100m looked a generous figure for the Spain-born Serbian star. He lacked that decisive touch and his first big chance only trickled into Keylor Navas’ hands, despite a perfect first touch from Kolarov’s long ball.

His long-range effort was wayward and he didn’t come close to scoring. Serbia play with three No.10s as Milinkovic-Savic operates centrally with Dusan Tadic and Adem Ljajic either side of him. The three got in each other’s way all too often, as the technical attacking midfielders looked to use their ball skills in the absence of natural pace.

Milinkovic-Savic outshone both Tadic and Ljajic at least and late on provided a wonderful chance for Aleksandar Mitrovic who should have scored at least twice against an ageing Costa Rica. Serbia have already moved to using the young star as their central figure and he really dictates the way Mladen Krstakic’s side play.

Former Lazio man Hernan Crespo thinks that the Serie A star is ready for his next step after watching him light up the league season in Italy.

“Milinkovic-Savic is a great player. I think he is really great,” Crespo told Goal. “He is a player that plays everywhere. He is very physical. If he went to the Premier League next season that he would be great. He plays very well as a physical midfielder.


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“He arrives in the box in an easy way. I think he is ready to play for any club. I don’t talk about money but he is very strong.”

This was his first introduction to international tournament football and he will grow. He was rightly identified by Oscar Ramirez’s side as the man who needed to be systematically fouled.

The spark is there with Milinkovic-Savic but he remains a rough diamond with a tendency to get caught in possession. These traits haven’t stopped Paul Pogba reaching the top and surely ‘SMS’ will soon follow him to a club at the top of world football.


‘Milinkovic-Savic needs to die for Man Utd move’ – Evra offers transfer advice to €100m-rated Serbia star

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic must show that he is “willing to die” for Manchester United if he is to move to Old Trafford, according to club icon Patrice Evra.

United have been heavily linked with the €100m-rated Serbia international, who is currently playing in the World Cup with his country.

Reports have suggested that Jose Mourinho’s side are involved in a three-way battle for his signature, along with Real Madrid and Juventus, with one outlet in Italy even claiming that Real are willing to pay €150m (£131m/$174m) for his services.

Evra, though, is unsure if Milinkovic-Savic, who enjoyed a breakthrough season at Lazio , scoring 14 goals and providing nine assists in all competitions, has the required mentality to play for his former club.

Talking to ITV , for whom he is working as a pundit throughout the World Cup, he said: “I’m really careful when I talk about Manchester United, because to play for this club, it’s not about your ability. You need to be a character, a personality.

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“To play for this club, you need to die for this club. The expectations are really huge and I’m afraid now. If you said to me ‘Patrice, you will play for Man Utd, but you won’t even get paid’, I would play for this club.

“So, if he has that mentality – I don’t ask him to say he doesn’t want any money – but if he goes there and makes sure he will die for the club, I will be really happy.”

Henrik Larsson, who spent a short spell on loan at United in 2007, echoed Evra’s sentiments, insisting that Milinkovic-Savic did nothing to impress him during the first half of Serbia’s clash with Costa Rica.

“It’s so hard to say [if he has the talent to play for United],” the Swede added.

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“I don’t feel that he’s done that much in the game so far. He’s done a few interesting things, but not really made a mark in my sense.

“Costa Rica are not giving him the space to drop down where he really wants to play.”

Serbia will also face Brazil and Switzerland in Group E, who play on Sunday night in Rostov.


Chelsea hold Lewandowski dream but Bayern hurdles could prove impossible

Chelsea face a struggle to convince Bayern Munich to sell Robert Lewandowski, despite holding a long-term interest in the want away forward.

Both Alvaro Morata and Michy Batshuayi have serious interest in their services this summer and the Poland international has been someone that has been considered as a future option for more than a year at Stamford Bridge.

As first revealed on Goal , Chelsea were considering Lewandowski ahead of the transfer window last summer. His former agent was sounded out by the club, although a move was deemed too difficult to secure leading the club’s director Marina Granovskaia to pressure other targets.

Lewandowski wants out of Bayern Munich and he has since hired a new agent in Pini Zahavi, but a move away from the Allianz Arena could still prove difficult with the Bavarians ruling out a sale and holding him to a lucrative contract that is signed until 2021.

Morata eventually joined Chelsea for £60 million ($80m) last season, which could rise to £70m in add-ons, after the club lost out to Manchester United in its approach to sign Romelu Lukaku from Everton.

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The Spain international has had a mixed season which has led him to being left out of his country’s squad for the World Cup. This hasn’t stopped clubs spotting an opportunity to sign him, though, with Juventus publicly stating an interest in bringing back the 25-year-old.

AC Milan and Inter have also held meetings with Morata’s agent and could make moves , although it appears unlikely that Chelsea would break even on his sale to an Italian club.

Michy Batshuayi is also a serious target of Borussia Dortumund and he would be interested in discussions after the World Cup over a move, following his successful loan spell with the German giants.

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Chelsea could raise funds for Lewandowski, but Bayern Munich hold great leverage in the situation which may deter the Blues for another summer, as the Bavarians are unlikely to talk to clubs for less than £200m.

It may be a case of now or never for the 29-year-old, who is keen on a move to either England or Spain, after winning four consecutive Bundesliga titles at the dominant club.

Chelsea also have Olivier Giroud and Tammy Abraham among their pool of possible strikers to use next season but decisions on loanees have been delayed with the club’s managerial situation still unresolved.