Mario Balotelli Makes $31M Move To AC Milan; Didier Drogba Returning To Europe
MARIO BALOTELLI is "on his way out" of Manchester City after a deal was struck for the Italian to join AC Milan, according to Mark Ogden of the London TELEGRAPH. AC Milan will pay a transfer fee of around £20M ($31.5M) for the Italian int'l. The Milan Channel announced, "Mario Balotelli to Milan, the player will come tomorrow (Wednesday) for his medical and sign his contract." Balotelli will join Milan ahead of Thursday's transfer deadline, thus ending a "remarkable two-and-a-half year stay" with Man City during which time the forward has "attracted almost as many headlines for off-field incidents as success on it" (TELEGRAPH, 1/29). In London, David McDonnell reported despite publicly insisting he still had faith in Balotelli, Man City Manager ROBERTO MANCINI and the club's board "decided to cut their losses and cash in on the maverick Italian." Balotelli has scored just one Premier League goal this season and "finally snapped Mancini's patience with a woeful performance in last month's Manchester derby" (DAILY MIRROR, 1/29).
DROGBA ON THE MOVE: The PA's Guy Aspin reported DIDIER DROGBA is "relishing the chance to have another crack at the Champions League" after agreeing to a return to Europe with Turkish side Galatasaray. The former Chelsea striker "agreed to join the Turkish giants" from Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua on an 18-month deal. His representatives revealed on Twitter that Drogba would join his new side following the Africa Cup of Nations, and Galatasaray confirmed the deal on its official website (PA, 1/29).
BECKHAM SIGHTED: The PA's Matt McGeehan reported Arsenal Manager ARSENE WENGER confirmed DAVID BECKHAM is "training with Arsenal" at its Hertfordshire training base. Wenger said, "He called me. (It's) purely for fitness. there's no speculation about signing or anything" (PA, 1/29). Wenger said, "We get nothing out of it, just to help somebody who we think deserves it and has made great service for English football" (REUTERS, 1/29).