x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Balotelli eager to finalise move to Man City

His agent says the teenage Inter Milan striker is "anxious" to complete his protracted move to the English Premier League.

Mario Balotelli is understood to have already said his farewells to his colleagues in Milan.
Mario Balotelli is understood to have already said his farewells to his colleagues in Milan.

Mario Balotelli's agent says the teenage striker is "anxious" to complete his protracted move to the English Premier League with Manchester City. The Inter Milan forward has long been linked with a move to Eastlands and it was hoped that a deal for the 19-year-old's transfer would be completed earlier this week. Balotelli is understood to have already held his farewell party in Milan.

However, Mino Raiola, Balotelli's agent, flew back to Italy from Manchester on Thursday night and admitted both sides are far from agreeing a deal. "As long as there's hope there's life," Raiola told Sky Italia. "He's calm but anxious to come to an agreement, that's normal for a lad of 19. We're working and we're hoping." Reports indicate that the sticking point is the Italy Under 21 international's wage demands, while Inter are believed to be holding out for a fee of ?35 million (Dh167.4m).

Sami Khedira, the Stuttgart midfielder, is set to move to Real Madrid after both clubs agreed a fee for the player's transfer. The 23-year-old had already agreed personal terms with Real and is now ready to complete the transfer for an undisclosed fee subject to a medical. "Obviously you don't gladly let such a leading player and figure like Sami Khedira leave, but on the other hand, we could understand Sami's desire to continue his career with Real," said Fredi Bobic, Stuttgart's director of sport. "We wish him lots of success with his new challenge in Madrid."

Rafael Marquez, who has been strongly linked with a move to the New York Red Bulls, is on the verge of leaving Barcelona, according to Andoni Zubizarreta, the new Barca sporting director. The Mexico captain's exit "just needed the final details tying up", Zubizarreta told reporters at Camp Nou yesterday. If the deal with the Red Bulls goes through, Marquez would join Thierry Henry, his former Barca teammate, after the French striker moved to the Major League Soccer side earlier this month.

Nicolas Anelka, the France striker, is taking French sports daily L'Equipe to court for libel after the newspaper printed details of his expletive-filled World Cup rant at coach Raymond Domenech. Anelka never denied ranting at Domenech during a half-time outburst in the 2-1 group match defeat to Mexico on June 17, but has said the newspaper distorted his words - splashed across the front page - with the expletives included.

L'Equipe said on its website yesterday that the case is likely to start this autumn and the newspaper will defend itself by calling the "various witnesses to the scene." Landon Donovan says he still wants to head back to Everton. The 28-year-old forward scored twice in a 13-game spell at the English Premier League side while on loan from Los Angeles Galaxy between January and March. Donovan told Everton's website yesterday he "would love to go back ... I love the people there."

Lazio have signed Javier Garrido, the left-back from Manchester City, just days after selling defender Aleksandar Kolarov to the English side. * Agencies