Paper Round: Milan sides fight for Balotelli

Arch-rivals AC Milan and Internazionale are both reportedly clamouring to sign Mario Balotelli this summer.


The Daily Mirror reports that the two Italian giants are first in line to land the 21-year-old, who is almost certainly on his way out of Manchester City following a season in which he has rocked from one controversy to the next.

With Roberto Mancini having admitted at the weekend that he just can't live with Mario at the club any more, a relatively modest £20 million transfer fee is expected. City paid Inter £24m for him two years ago.

Readers of the The Sun will have a very different view of the Balotelli situation, however: the paper claims that the Italian striker no longer faces being left on the sidelines for the rest of the season (though he will miss half those games in any case courtesy of his three-match ban) and that the door is still open to him. This looks like being the summer saga which will keep on running.

Whether Mancini has the chance to decide on Balotelli's future is very much up for debate as well, with several papers focusing on the City boss's chances ofkeeping his job should the club miss out on the Premier League title. The Mail suggests that the only people who would be better at the job are Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola, neither of whom would take the job, while the Guardian offers five reasons why Mancini should and should not stay without actually coming to a conclusion.

As for Balotelli's potential replacement should he leave? Robin van Persie is expected to snub a summer move to Manchester City, according to The Times, despite a £200,000-a-week offer to move to Eastlands. The Dutchman will also refuse a new deal at The Gunners - despite the promise of £130,000-a-week and a £6m loyalty bonus in order to run down his contract and have his pick of clubs next summer.

The recent form of Fulham forward Clint Dempsey - 22 goals this season - has sparked interest from Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, according to the Daily Telegraph. The 29-year-old US international enters the final year of his contract at the end of this season, and though Fulham boss Martin Jol recently described him as "indispensable" the Cottagers may choose to cash in this summer rather than risk losing him for nothing in 2013.

Real Madrid are keen on Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic and will offer £12m for the defender, according to the Daily Mirror. Jose Mourinho has been impressed by the Serbian this season despite - or possibly because of - the punch in the stomach of Wigan's Shaun Maloney at the weekend that may land the player a retrospective ban.

Sunderland goalkeeper Craig Gordon is a target for Celtic this summer, the Mirror reports. The magnificently talented Scot was Britain's most expensive goalkeeper when the Black Cats signed him for £9m five years ago, but injury has blighted his career in recent seasons and Celtic will offer him a pay-as-you-play deal.

Atletico Madrid are keen on West Brom's Jonas Olsson (Daily Mirror), Jermaine Pennant has vowed to stay at Stoke and fight for his place (The Sun) and Manchester United starlet Paul Pogba is still dragging his heels on whether he will sign a new deal or leave Old Trafford (The Times).

And finally, Fabrice Muamba appears to be just a few weeks away from resuming training thanks to an amazing gadget implanted under his skin. The Mirror reports that the Bolton midfielder - who collapsed on the pitch during an FA Cup tie against Spurs last month - will have a mini-defibrilator implanted in his arm to give him an automatic electric shock should his heart begin to beat in an unusual pattern.

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