James Milner expects Balotelli and Tevez to stay at Manchester City

Manchester City midfielder James Milner expects that striking duo Mario Balotelli and Carlos Tevez will stay to try and fire the Blues to another Premier League title.

The 26-year-old midfielder believes that despite the interest shown in both the Italian and the Argentine, the two front-men will remain as key members of Roberto Mancini’s squad for the 2012-13 season.

“I’m not surprised [about the speculation], no. They’re both top-class players along with many others we are lucky enough to have in the squad,” he told BBC Five Live‘s ‘Sportsweek’.

“As a team you want to move forward and we say that every year we want to improve on what we did last year. That is as individuals and as a team and as a club. We want to move forward and get bigger and better.”

Both Tevez and Balotelli looked to have damaged their relationships with the manager irreparably last season. Tevez exiled himself in Argentina after refusing to warm up as a substitute away to Bayern Munich in the Champions League in September, while Balotelli’s disciplinary problems – both on and off the field – looked to have left Mancini with no other choice but to cut them loose.

However, both returned to the matchday squad for the title run-in, and were pivotal in ensuring that City lifted the Premier League trophy on the final day of the season ahead of rivals Manchester United. Balotelli had a great Euro 2012 with Italy, while Tevez has returned noticeably leaner after a pre-season of hard fitness work.

Milner suggests that winning the title was incredibly important psychologically, as ceding top spot to United may have caused his side long-term problems.

“I think it might have taken a while to recover from that,” he added.

“Obviously with the way the season went, the ups and downs, we had it won and then United seemed to have it won.

“Then it to’d and fro’d to the last seconds of the season.”

While it was indeed a great day for City fans, Milner insists that the players must look to the future: “It was great for us to win the league – fantastic achievement but it goes by so quickly and that has gone now.

“We’ll just concentrate on ourselves and prepare ourselves as we best can for our season.”

And Milner is certain that, although United possess formidable firepower with the acquisition of Robin van Persie, there are other threats to their crown. “They are a top side: they have shown that over the years and they’re strengthening, but they are not going to be the only club challenging this year.”

McEachran looking for loan move to kick-start Chelsea career

Promising Chelsea youngster Josh McEachran looks set to go out on loan in order to gain first-team experience to eventually battle for a place in Roberto Di Matteo’s side.

With increased competition at Stamford Bridge from new signings such as Eden Hazard, Oscar and Marko Marin, as well as the resurgence of Frank Lampard, the 19-year-old midfielder would find his opportunities severely limited this season.

As such, McEachran is being allowed to leave on a six-month deal, and a number of Championship sides are already interested in the Englishman.

“For my career, it’s important to play regularly and pick up as much experience as possible — and that’s what I’m looking to do,” he told The Sun.

“There are a few Championship and Premier League teams interested and it’s just about picking the right club.

“I’ll go for six months and then we’ll review it again and see what happens next.”

The newspaper reports that Bolton, Blackburn and Middlesborough have all expressed interest in the silky passer, and both McEachran and Di Matteo will be hoping that the player gets more game time than he did at Swansea, where he spent most of his time on the bench while the likes of Joe Allen shone.

Mirallas joins Everton on four-year deal from Olympiakos

Everton have confirmed they have completed the signing of Kevin Mirallas from Olympiakos.

The Belgium international has signed a four-year deal with the club for an undisclosed fee and the new signing says he is delighted to have arrived at Goodison Park.

“I am very happy because Everton is a big club and for me it’s a very good opportunity,” he told the club’s official website.

“I’ve known Everton have been following me for a while and after talking with the manager I decided coming to Everton was the best opportunity for me.

“I know this is a great club with great supporters and a club that has the ability win a lot of games in the Premier League. That’s why I came.”

Mirallas will be unveiled at Goodison Park on Monday night ahead of Everton’s first Premier League fixture of the season against Manchester United. However, he will ineligible for the game having failed to sign before Friday’s noon deadline.

The former Saint Etienne and Lille forward can play as either a striker, or out wide on either wing, and will wear the No.11 shirt at Everton.

Galatasaray have the power to buy Kaka, claims club chairman

Galatasaray chairman Unal Aysal has stated that his club have the funds necessary to bring Kaka to Turkey, but conceded that the midfielder is unlikely to seek a switch to the Super Lig.

The Real Madrid playmaker has been used sparingly by Jose Mourinho in his time at the Bernabeu, with Mesut Ozil getting preference in the attacking midfield slot. As such, the former AC Milan ace has been linked with an exit from the capital club this summer, with Galatasaray now joining the list of potential suitors.

“I think it’s very hard to sign Kaka because the player is reluctant to move to Turkey,” Bugun quotes Aysal as saying.

“Galatasaray have the power to buy him, that’s not a problem for us. But I personally think it’s very unlikely for Kaka to come to Turkey. So, all the excitement about this topic is exaggerated.”

The Yellow-Reds will kick off their Super Lig campaign against Kasimpasaspor on Monday.

Who do you think should be Goal.com International’s World Player of the Week this week? Leave your nomination in the comments section of THIS article between 10:00 every Sunday and 11:00CET every Monday. We will include some of the best suggestions in our winners piece.

Mancini demands new signings to defend Manchester City's title

Roberto Mancini is convinced that Manchester City need new signings in order to cement their position as the Premier League’s dominant side.

Despite adding to his title-winning squad with the £15 million signing of Everton’s young midfielder Jack Rodwell, the Italian boss insists that fresh blood is needed to stay ahead of the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea, who have both added extensively to their squads this summer.

“We need more players.

“We have 10 days, time is very short. We now have only 20, 21 with the young players. And this year there is the African Cup [of Nations],” he told reporters.

While United have notably signed Shinji Kagawa and Robin van Persie, and Chelsea have blitzed the market with high-profile deals for midfielders Oscar and Eden Hazard, Mancini has been frustrated in the market as City attempt to rein in their spending sprees. Missing out on Van Persie to rival Sir Alex Ferguson has irked Mancini in particular, with United now boasting a forward line to match City’s.

While Mancini’s words may be an attempt to loosen the purse strings of club owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, City captain Vincent Kompany is confident of further glory, suggesting that the league success of last season may be a catalyst for further trophies.

“People were asking what effect the FA Cup [triumph in 2011] was going to have on us, having ended the club’s 35-year wait for a trophy.

“If the FA Cup had an impact on us winning the league, then I hope winning the league will have an impact on us winning things in Europe. But everything in time.”

Kompany also stated that while last season’s Champions League campaign may have ended at the group stages for City, they will improve on that this season.

“You know, last year was our first participation in the Champions League and I’m convinced we will have a better run this year – but everything in time.

“At the moment, we have to prove ourselves to England. Hopefully, Europe and the world will come later, but it has happened in the right way so far – FA Cup, League and then we’ll see what we achieve.”

Who do you think should be Goal.com International’s World Player of the Week this week? Leave your nomination in the comments section of THIS article between 10:00 every Sunday and 11:00CET every Monday. We will include some of the best suggestions in our winners piece.