Balotelli is not leaving Manchester City, insists agent

Mario Balotelli is to remain at Manchester City despite increased speculation linking the striker with a move away, according to the player’s agent.

Both AC Milan and Inter have been credited with interest in the Italy international in the past, with the former’s owner Silvio Berlusconi recently admitting he “liked the player”.

Balotelli, who was left out of the 18-man squad which faced Tottenham last weekend, was recently assured by manager Roberto Mancini that his future at Etihad Stadium is secure and his representative Mino Raiola supports the assertions.

“He feels really good at City,” Raiola told Mediaset.

“There is no crisis between Mario and City or between Mario and Mancini. What the papers write is garbage. Not being happy at being in the stands is completely different to wanting to leave.”

And Raiola continued to state his belief that Balotelli would remain at the club for the foreseeable future, with a move to Italy unfeasible.

“We plan to stay at City for at least another year-and-a-half. Even if we did decide to leave tomorrow, I don’t think there are any clubs in Italy that could sign him,” he concluded.

Di Matteo hints at Chelsea interest in Falcao

Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo has hinted at the possibility of signing Radamel Falcao, after admitting that the Blues will be short of strikers during the African Cup of Nations in January.

As Goal.com exclusively revealed on Tuesday, the Blues are set to beat Manchester City and PSG to the Colombian’s signature with a massive £48.1 million move in January.

Furthermore, the Atletico Madrid striker has made public his thoughts on the champions of Europe, indicating his attraction to Chelsea’s ambition and the “physical aspect” of the Premier League. 

The 42-year-old refused to comment on the club’s transfer target but did reveal his admiration for the former Porto man, stating he rates Falcao as one of the greatest attackers on the planet.

“If you ask any manager, he would have him in his team,” he told reporters.

“He is one of the best strikers, probably, in European and world football.

“His ratio of goals per game is quite impressive, not just this season but over the last three seasons, at Porto and Atletico Madrid.”

Chelsea are likely to lose Nigerian forward Victor Moses in January, due to the African Nations Cup, limiting their recognised options up front to goal-shy Fernando Torres and Daniel Sturridge, who hasn’t started a league game so far this season.  

Di Matteo admitted the period will leave them short of firepower, and refused to rule out the possibility of transfer window activity.

“We’re looking at that, because we’ll lose Victor and John Obi Mikel for that tournament,” he added.

“We’ll look and see how we deal with it, but for the moment we’re okay.”

Robinho is too expensive for Santos, says Ramalho

Santos coach Muricy Ramalho says signing AC Milan’s Robinho would require a significant investment, which the Brazilian side is not a a position to make.

The former Real Madrid and Manchester City player has been linked with a move back to his former club on numerous occasions, but financial restrictions look to have put an end to those rumours.

“As it was with Diego, there are players that interest us very much, but they would place a very heavy burden on us from an economic point of view,” Ramalho told Lancenet.

“Robinho is in fact one of them, but we are still exploring other names on the market.”

Yanga-Mbiwa extends Montpellier stay

Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa has ended speculation over his future by signing a two-year contract extension with Montpellier.

The France international’s previous contract was due to expire next summer and it was rumoured Italian giants AC Milan were set to make a move for the centre-back.

However, Yanga-Mbiwa will now stay in France after an official statement was released by the club confirming his new deal.

“Montpellier and the club’s board are very pleased to announce the contract extension of captain Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.

“His deal was due to expire in June 2013, but the France international has chosen to continue the adventure here for a further two seasons. He is now linked to MHSC until June 2015.”

Last summer the Rossoneri made an offer of up to €6 million for the 23-year-old, with Paillade president Louis Nicollin responding with a famously comical retort.

“Kojak never called me,” he told Canal+ back in July.

“This makes me laugh. Those guys just got out of bed. They sold a guy for €45 million euros [Thiago Silva to Paris Saint-Germain] and they want to steal one of ours.

“If they offered €25m or €30m then fair enough, but from what I understood they merely come in with €5m or €6m. [Adriano Galliani should] go and watch movies and not hassle us.”

Luis Suarez commits future to Liverpool amid Manchester City talk

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has reiterated his desire to stay at the club, amidst rumoured interest from Manchester City.

The Uruguayan has been in fine form so far this campaign, notching 11 goals in 16 appearances, despite Brendan Rodgers’ men suffering a mixed start to the season.

Suarez’s recent performances had led to suggestions that Roberto Mancini was set to test the Reds’ resolve with £40 million January move, but the forward has now underlined his commitment to the Anfield outfit.

He told the club’s official website: “I have a very long contract here and it’s a dream come true to be playing at a club like Liverpool because, as I’ve said, as a boy I dreamt of playing for a team like this.

“Now I’m here, it’s all about enjoying myself and trying to be here for as many years as I can, because I’m at a club where I’m very happy, my family is happy, I’ve got fantastic teammates and a manager from whom I’m learning so much.

“As a player, it’s vital to have the backing of your manager and so I think that the confidence Brendan is showing in myself and the team as a whole is very important and it’s down to us to repay that trust out there on the pitch.

“Let’s hope we can keep improving. I’m working well and I’m very happy at a club where I’ve always wanted to be. At a club to whom I’m very grateful for the trust everyone is showing in me – a club with amazing supporters and teammates who are all great people.

“The other important thing is that the squad is very united. In spite of not getting the results we would have liked, we have a great spirit of togetherness and let’s hope we can continue to pick up points.”

The 25-year-old has regularly been subjected to booing from opposition supporters, largely due to his eight-match ban for racially abusing Patrice Evra last season.

But he insists that such things do not affect him and went on to hail the support he has received from Liverpool fans since joining the club.

“I think you need to really know a person before you criticise them or speak out about them,” he continued.

“I think sometimes the opposition fans are more interested in booing Luis Suarez for the problems he had or because he’s gone down for something than they are in their own team!

“I think that each set of supporters should just worry about their own team and leave their opponents well alone, just like the Liverpool fans do.

“I think our fans are the perfect example and always show how to help the team by wanting to get behind the side. It doesn’t matter who the opposition are, the only thing they want is for their team to win by giving a lift to the players with their support.

“That’s what the other clubs’ fans need to do – get behind their own side and not just think about Suarez, because all that does is motivate me even more to do well.”

The Salto-born forward scored the equaliser in the Reds’ 1-1 draw with Chelsea on Sunday but insists nothing but three points will do when Liverpool take on Wigan at Anfield next time round.

“Chelsea was a result that was neither good nor bad,” he added. “I guess we really need to be picking up as many points as we can, given that we haven’t got as many points on the board that a club like Liverpool would expect to have at this stage.

“Wigan is an absolute must-win fixture. It’s a very important game for us to gain in confidence for the matches ahead and to get stronger here at Anfield, which is where we need to make the difference.”