Jan 5, 2014, 8:46 AM EDT
With Mario Balotelli unhappy with AC Milan’s floundering Serie A position, there is a new rumor that striker-hungry Chelsea could be in the market for the Italian superstar. Balotelli’s previous success in the Premier League combined with the desperate need at the striker position for Jose Mourinho makes this rumor not just a juicy one but a sensible one as well. Could we see the pairing of two of the most controversial and outspoken personalities in the game of soccer paired up on one team? It’s an exciting thought, and with Mourinho loving to make headlines and grab attention, this would be an outstanding opportunity to ensure he remains in the papers day in and day out. Despite Milan’s struggles, Balotelli has six goals in 12 Serie A matches this season, and another three goals in eight other appearances elsewhere for his club. But rumors are abound that between last year’s close shave into a Champions League position and this year’s current 13th place standing, the 23-year-old could be ready to move on. In three seasons previously with Manchester City, he scored 19 goals in 40 appearances before a very rocky 2012 saw him depart.
Rumors are flying out of Real Madrid (as they always inevitably do) that unsettled/dropped players such as Iker Casillas and Xabi Alonso could be ready to move on. However, manager Carlo Ancelotti has insisted nobody will depart this January, and that contract talks with the Spanish captain Alonso will get moving shortly. “No players are leaving and we’re not going to sign anyone. The window is closed for us,” Ancelotti insisted. While this isn’t exactly a “rumor” per-say, it’s always difficult to take a manager’s intentions to heart considering the amount of times over the years we’ve seen bosses go back on their word. Nevertheless, it’s hard to see where Madrid really need any serious overhaul, and it’s also likely that even the great Los Blancos could still be low on cash after their world-record transfer for Gareth Bale in the summer.
We heard just as recently as Friday that Juan Mata‘s preferred destination was Napoli, but now it appears that serious moves are being made by Atletico Madrid, and the Spanish club on the rise are making a legitimate play with his agent in talks with a number of clubs (including PSG and Juventus). The likely move would be a loan for the rest of the season with an option to buy, and the same Daily Star exclusive that describes the Balotelli situation also suggests Atletico could be leading the race for Mata’s arrival. The rumor isn’t a new one, with the same coming through in summer from the Daily Mail, suggesting there could be some truth to it. It would be a serious coup for the Spaniards, who are into the Champions League knockout stage and also leading the La Liga table, and reinforcements of Mata’s caliber would give their chances in both competitions a serious boost.
As Robert Lewandowski gets ready for live at his new home Bayern Munich, talk has increased about what they will do with incumbent striker Mario Mandzukic. Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge wants to put all that talk to rest immediately. While that may be impossible, he worked quickly to do his part, saying, “He’s a fantastic player who has come on leaps and bounds with Bayern. His contract runs until 2016 and I told his advisor in Marrakech that we would be willing to talk about an extension. We have absolutely no intention of selling Mario.”
While Rummenigge was at it, he also ruled out a move inwards for Chelsea defender David Luiz. When prompted on the player, Rummenigge said, “There’s always lots of speculation and it’s extreme in England, but I can say for certain that he is not a thought for us.” The chairman pointed to the potential return of defender Holger Bastuber from injury as a reason they do not need Luiz’s services.
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