Mario Balotelli has left Marseille following the expiration of his contract, club president Jacques-Henri Eyraud confirmed.

Balotelli joined Marseille from Nice in January on a short-term contract and enjoyed a solid end to the season, scoring eight goals in 15 Ligue 1 appearances.

Marseille had been keen on keeping him at the club, but their failure to qualify for the Champions League has forced them to lower their wage budget.

Lucas Ocampos has already left for Sevilla, while Kevin Strootman, Adil Rami, Luiz Gustavo and their highest-earning players are being linked with moves.

Balotelli's exit has now been confirmed, opening the door for the striker to return to either Italy or England, having been linked with Napoli and West Ham.

"At the moment we are [working] on two or three areas to adapt if there are unexpected departures and that we would have to replace," Eyraud told L'Equipe.

"The attacking position has to be filled, since Mario Balotelli will not continue with Marseille. We are looking beyond the position of attacker, however, including centre-back."

Eyraud is hopeful highly rated 19-year-old centre-back Boubacar Kamara signs a new deal, while he also denied reports Marseille have told Rami – a World Cup winner with France last year – to look for a new club.

"I respect my players, I rub shoulders with them every day and I see how much pressure they are under," he added. "I am very surprised by the media coverage that claims Rami has already left.

"What is certain, for me, is that Adil Rami must question himself, deeply, about his status, about his job as a professional footballer, about his rights and duties as a player, and moreover a world champion.

"With Adil I am very frank, very direct, as always, and I will make a decision at the end of this discussion.

"I cannot wait to have it [the discussion with Rami], and to have this exchange with him, which will take place this week."

Romelu Lukaku is on the other side of the globe and his future is still up in the air.

In Australia for Manchester United's pre-season tour, Lukaku remains a Red Devils player but he is reportedly keen to leave Old Trafford.

Linked to Inter, this could drag on for a while…

 

TOP STORY – INTER STEP UP LUKAKU CHASE

Inter will travel to England to try to complete a transfer for Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku, Sky Sports reports.

With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer preferring Marcus Rashford up front, €80million-rated Lukaku wants to leave and Inter have emerged as frontrunners to sign the 26-year-old.

Serie A champions Juventus are also reportedly interested but Inter head coach Antonio Conte, who missed out on signing Lukaku during his time as Chelsea boss in 2017, is desperate to bring him to Milan.

 

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Paris Saint-Germain are willing to part with Neymar for €150m, according to El Pais. Neymar – linked with a return to Camp Nou and Real Madrid – arrived from Barcelona in a world-record €222m transfer in 2017.

Paul Pogba wants to leave Manchester United amid doubts over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's ability to deliver silverware at Old Trafford, according to The Sun. Pogba has been linked to Real Madrid and Juventus.

- According to the front page of Corriere dello Sport, Napoli are stepping up their pursuit of Valencia forward Rodrigo. The 28-year-old is valued at €70m by the LaLiga club. Meanwhile, Sport Mediaset reports Napoli are poised to sign Eljif Elmas with the Fenerbahce midfielder set to undergo a medical.

- The Suns says Arsenal are planning to hijack Premier League rivals Everton's move for Barcelona winger Malcom. The Brazilian, who struggled to establish himself at Camp Nou last season, has emerged as a target for the Gunners – who look to have moved on from pursuing Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha.

Roma have met with the agent of Real Madrid forward Mariano Diaz, according to Gianluca Di Marzio. Mariano only returned to the Santiago Bernabeu last season, having left for Lyon in 2017.

- According to Gianluca Di Marzio, Leicester City have entered the race to sign Arsenal and Valencia target Dennis Praet from Sampdoria.

Atletico Madrid striker and former Chelsea star Diego Costa has an agreement with Wolves, reports Globo Esporte.

Napoli head coach Carlo Ancelotti is hopeful James Rodriguez will sign for the Serie A club.

James has emerged as a transfer target for Napoli, who want to reunite the Colombia star with former Real Madrid and Bayern Munich boss Ancelotti.

The 27-year-old's future is uncertain after Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich opted not to take up a permanent transfer following a two-year loan deal from Madrid.

Amid ongoing speculation over James, Ancelotti told reporters: "I don't know if he'll come, but we hope so.

"I know him very well, he can play in all the midfield positions. I used him as a left winger, as a number 10 and or even on the right.

"His position on the pitch isn't a problem. He's adaptable, he can play in many positions.

"As for the number 10 shirt, the important thing is that he puts on the Azzurri jersey. His number isn't important. However, he needs time and patience."

Napoli are reportedly interested in taking James on loan, though Madrid want a permanent sale and €42million as they look to raise funds amid a busy transfer window.

While Napoli are favourites to sign James, LaLiga's Atletico Madrid are believed to be monitoring the situation.

AC Milan chief football officer Zvonimir Boban believes goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma will remain with the Serie A giants.

Donnarumma, 20, has been linked with a move away from San Siro, with Paris Saint-Germain reportedly interested in the shot-stopper.

But Boban suggested the Italy international would stay in Milan, although accepted the situation could also change.

"[Paolo] Maldini said that we are happy to have probably the best goalkeeper in the world, surely the best talent in the world in that role," Boban said on Tuesday, via CalcioMercato.

"For the moment, he remains. He can change but it is not said that he will leave."

Donnarumma joined Milan as a 14-year-old in 2013 and has already made 164 first-team appearances.

Villarreal have announced the signing of Alberto Moreno on a five-year deal.

Moreno was a free agent having been released by Liverpool at the end of his contract.

He made only two Premier League appearances last season after falling out of favour at Anfield.

And the former Sevilla defender is returning to LaLiga with Javier Calleja's side, who finished 14th in 2018-19.

"The Andalusian footballer is a complete full-back with a great ability to get forward in attack," said a Villarreal statement on Tuesday.

"As well as adding width to his team, Moreno is a great assister of goals."

Villarreal also confirmed former Italy defender Daniele Bonera has opted to retire at the age of 38.

"After nearly 20 years as a professional footballer, I have decided to end this incredible era of my life," Bonera wrote on Villarreal's website.

"It has been a real privilege to play for clubs like Brescia, Parma, AC Milan and, in these last four years, Villarreal.

"I've grown both on a professional and personal level, and today I have the chance to face a new project with trust and certainty."

Bonera, who spent nine years at San Siro before joining Villarreal in 2015, has been named an assistant to new AC Milan coach Marco Giampaolo.

Juventus are on the verge of signing another young defender with Cristian Romero undergoing a medical in Turin.

The Argentina Under-20 international visited the club's health facility on Tuesday ahead of an expected move from Genoa reportedly worth upwards of €15million.

Romero, 21, will become Juve's second new centre-back in less than a week following the arrival of Turkey international Merih Demiral, also 21.

That figure could rise to three if the Serie A champions finalise a fee with Ajax for teenage sensation Matthijs de Ligt.

Juve and Netherlands international De Ligt have already agreed to personal terms, according to the 19-year-old's agent, Mino Raiola.

Unlike Demiral, who joined from Sassuolo, Romero is tipped to head straight out on loan, potentially back to Genoa.

The Belgrano product made 27 appearances and scored two goals in his first season in Serie A.

Maurizio Sarri has also snapped up Gianluigi Buffon, Adrien Rabiot and promising full-back Luca Pellegrini ahead of the new campaign.

Real Madrid want Paul Pogba and the LaLiga giants are confident the Manchester United midfielder would reject a possible return to Juventus.

Pogba, 26, is set to leave Old Trafford this close season, just three years after returning to the Premier League club from Juve.

The France international is heavily linked with a move to Madrid, but the Serie A champions are also reportedly interested.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID BELIEVE POGBA WILL REJECT JUVE RETURN

Real Madrid feel Pogba will opt against a return to Juventus even if the chance presented itself, according to the Daily Mail.

The report says Pogba wants to play for compatriot and Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane and experience a new league.

Pogba has travelled with United for their pre-season tour, but his agent recently said the midfielder wants an exit.

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- Madrid are set to raise some funds by selling James Rodriguez to Napoli. Marca report Napoli sporting director Cristiano Giuntoli is in Madrid with James' agent, with the LaLiga side wanting €42million for the playmaker. Napoli, meanwhile, want an option to buy later.

- Mauro Icardi is unwanted at Inter, with Napoli and Juventus linked with the forward. Corriere dello Sport report Juve president Andrea Agnelli was meeting with agent Gabriele Giuffrida, who could be the intermediary for negotiations between the Serie A champions and Inter.

- Manchester United appear to be searching for a midfielder this close season and they are linked with a surprise move for Tiemoue Bakayoko. RMC Sport say United have made contact with Chelsea about Bakayoko, back at Stamford Bridge after a loan spell at AC Milan, while Paris Saint-Germain are also chasing the French midfielder.

- Juventus are willing to sell Joao Cancelo. According to Corriere Torino, Maurizio Sarri has approved the sale of the full-back, who has been linked to Manchester City and Bayern Munich.

- Everton are looking to strengthen with the addition of a forward. Sport report the Premier League club are willing to offer £31.4m (€35m) for Barcelona forward Malcom, who has also attracted interest from Arsenal. Meanwhile, La Gazzetta dello Sport say Everton had a £26.9m (€30m) offer for teenage Juventus forward Moise Kean turned down.

- Like Icardi unwanted at Inter, Radja Nainggolan has offers from China. Gianluca Di Marzio reports the Belgian midfielder is evaluating offers from Chinese Super League (CSL) clubs Dalian Yifang and Shanghai Shenhua.

Paris Saint-Germain were interested in signing Matthijs de Ligt from Ajax but will not be buying the defender, says sporting director Leonardo.

De Ligt's performances in leading Ajax to a domestic double last term, as well as the semi-finals of the Champions League, have made him one of the world's most in-demand players.

But Juventus seem set to win the race for his signature after De Ligt's agent Mino Raiola said personal terms have been agreed with the Serie A champions.

With negotiations over the transfer fee continuing between Ajax and Juve, De Ligt was present at the start of pre-season training with the Dutch giants on Monday.

And Leonardo accepts De Ligt will not be joining PSG while indicating the Ligue 1 champions are operating to a restricted budget.

"De Ligt will not come to PSG," Leonardo said to Le Parisien. "There was a possibility.

"He is a great player but it was not a good time to make a big investment. We must calm down a little.

"We don't have an envelope with €200million to spend."

Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly has been touted as a De Ligt alternative for PSG but Leonardo indicated the Senegal international would also cost too much.

"He is a very expensive player," Leonardo added. "There is no specific project for the moment. But I do not want to talk too much about individual cases."

Leonardo said he made no offer to try and keep Adrien Rabiot at the club, with the midfielder joining Juve as a free agent.

Rabiot and Aaron Ramsey moving to Turin has led to rumours former PSG player Blaise Matuidi may now be surplus to requirements.

"I love Matuidi," said Leonardo. "I have a lot of respect and esteem for him. He has always been fundamental for PSG.

"But at PSG today, there are already players and we will continue to play 11 on the field."

PSG have signed Ander Herrera and Pablo Sarabia ahead of the new campaign, but veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon rejected a new contract to return to Juve.

Empoli midfielder Rade Krunic has joined AC Milan, the Rossoneri have confirmed.

Milan announced on Monday that Krunic has signed a five-year contract with the club.

Krunic made 33 Serie A appearances last term, scoring five goals, to earn his move.

Milan are reported to have paid €8million for the 25-year-old Bosnia-Herzegovina international, with the deal including further clauses.

Krunic becomes Milan's second major signing of the transfer window ahead of the 2019-20 season.

The Rossoneri snapped up full-back Theo Hernandez from Real Madrid for a reported €20million.

Goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, however, continues to be linked with a move away from San Siro.

The Italy international, 20, is reportedly a target for Paris Saint-Germain after Gianluigi Buffon's departure.

But technical director Paolo Maldini dismissed suggestions Milan are considering selling Donnarumma.

"The idea we have right now is to keep Donnarumma for a very long time," he told reporters. "At this moment, that is our position."

Matthijs de Ligt trained with Ajax on Monday despite his agent revealing the defender has come to an agreement with Juventus.

The Serie A champions are frontrunners to sign Ajax captain De Ligt, who has been linked with clubs including Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United.

De Ligt's agent Mino Raiola confirmed on Sunday the Netherlands international has agreed personal terms with Juve.

But he was present for the start of pre-season training, with Ajax and Juve still negotiating over the transfer fee.

De Ligt is one of the world's most in-demand players having thrived in Ajax's run to the semi-finals of the Champions League.

His club and country team-mate Frenkie de Jong has joined Barcelona and they were also linked with signing De Ligt.

 

 

Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti has spoken in glowing terms of the "true quality" of reported transfer targets James Rodriguez and Mauro Icardi.

Club president Aurelio De Laurentiis has confirmed Ancelotti would be keen to reunite with James, with whom he worked at Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.

The Colombia star's future is uncertain after his loan deal with Bayern ended and the option to make that move permanent was not taken up.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Ancelotti said of James: "He is a player I know well and he is true quality.

"Unfortunately, he is not a Napoli player yet...maybe he never will be, or maybe he will!

"Let's talk about James once he becomes a Napoli player, as we do with other players. If today a manager from another club spoke about a Napoli player, I wouldn't be happy."

Napoli have also been linked with a move for Icardi, who has been told by Inter bosses he is not in their plans for the first season under new coach Antonio Conte.

They are reported to have offered the Argentina striker, who is also being linked with Juventus, a contract worth in the region of €7.5million per season.

"Icardi is a great player, held in high esteem by all of us, by me as well," said Ancelotti.

"All these names of such important players...it is positive they are mentioned next to us."

Ancelotti also spoke positively about his hopes for a new defensive partnership between Kalidou Koulibaly and new signing Kostas Manolas, with Raul Albiol having ended his six-year stay at the San Paolo by returning to Spain with Villarreal.

"From me and the entire Napoli community goes a big thanks to Albiol, who lived an important spell here at Napoli," he said. "He was very useful, a true professional and we will miss something there. But one of the best defenders on the market has arrived.

"Manolas is a formidable central defender and he will make a fantastic pair with Koulibaly. They will enable us to play a more aggressive football since we will be able to have a less deep defensive line."

Roma have confirmed the departure of forward Stephan El Shaarawy to Shanghai Shenhua in a €16million deal.

Shenhua had announced earlier on Monday that an agreement was in place for El Shaarawy to make the move to the Chinese Super League club.

Roma added in a statement: "The club would like to thank Stephan for his efforts during his time at the club and wish him the best of luck for the future."

The Italy international scored 40 goals in 139 matches in all competitions for the Giallorossi, having joined from AC Milan in 2016.

James Rodriguez could yet be staying in Madrid – by moving to Atletico.

James, 27, is set to leave Real Madrid after Bayern Munich opted against exercising their purchase option for the playmaker at the conclusion of his two-year loan deal.

It seemed the Colombia international was likely to move to Napoli, but interest from Atletico has, at least, slowed down that potential switch.

 

TOP STORY – JAMES PREFERS ATLETICO SWITCH OVER NAPOLI

According to Gol Caracol, James is enjoying the interest from Atletico Madrid.

The report says Atletico would be ready to invest the €120million they are expected to receive from Barcelona for Antoine Griezmann on James.

With Joao Felix having already arrived at the Wanda Metropolitano, Diego Simeone could have plenty of attacking talent to work with next season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Griezmann is set for a fine. AS report the forward, expected to join Barcelona, did not report for the start of Atletico Madrid's pre-season and could face a fine. The France international is reportedly in Ibiza on holiday.

- Paul Pogba will join Manchester United on their pre-season tour despite wanting a move from Old Trafford. The Mirror report Real Madrid – who are eyeing the midfielder – told Pogba to make the trip, unwilling to risk upsetting the United hierarchy.

- Inter are still trying, unsuccessfully, to find a deal for Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku. La Repubblica report Inter offered either Mauro Icardi or Radja Nainggolan as part of a deal for Lukaku, but that was rejected.

- Tottenham are eager to bring in Roma midfielder Nicolo Zaniolo. Corriere dello Sport report Spurs have offered £20.6m (€23m) plus defender Toby Alderweireld for Zaniolo, a deal which was apparently well received. Juventus are also interested in the 20-year-old Italy international.

- Just as it looked like his Valencia deal was just about done, Celta Vigo forward Maxi Gomez may have had a change of heart. West Ham have offered to meet Gomez's £44.9m (€50.1m) release clause, according to Sky Sports, who say the Premier League club – who sold Marko Arnautovic to Shanghai SIPG – want to pay in instalments.

- Liverpool could be signing another young talent. The Telegraph report the European champions are set to sign England Under-17 midfielder Harvey Elliott, the 16-year-old having left Fulham and decided to head to Anfield over several European giants. Liverpool have already added 17-year-old Dutch defender Sepp van den Berg this close season.

Stephan El Shaarawy is heading to China as Shanghai Shenhua announced they had agreed terms with the forward's club Roma.

El Shaarawy, 26, has been heavily linked with a move to the Chinese Super League (CSL) club for a reported €18million.

In a statement on their website on Monday, Shanghai Shenhua confirmed they had reached an agreement with Roma.

"Shanghai Greenland Shenhua Football Club and Italy's Rome Football Club have reached a transfer agreement," the statement read.

"Stephan El Shaarawy, who has dual Italian and Egyptian nationality, is expected to arrive in Shanghai on July 8th, Beijing time.

"After completing the relevant procedures, he officially joined Shanghai Greenland Shenhua."

El Shaarawy has spent the past three and a half seasons with Roma, having joined on a permanent move from AC Milan in 2016.

A 23-time Italy international, he scored 11 goals in 33 games in all competitions last season.

El Shaarawy joins a Shanghai Shenhua side struggling in 14th in the CSL after just three wins from their opening 16 games.

Matthijs de Ligt has agreed a contract at Juventus and Ajax must now negotiate with the Serie A champions, according to the defender's agent, Mino Raiola.

Netherlands international De Ligt has been at the centre of intense transfer speculation, his performances for club and country over the past year seeing him linked to clubs including Juve, Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona and Manchester United.

It has been reported over the past week that the 19-year-old has accepted a five-year deal offered by Juve, worth in the region of €9million.

Raiola told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf that De Ligt has agreed to the contract and urged Ajax to make a decision over the player's future.

Juve are said to have opened with a bid of €50m, which was rejected.

"Agreements have been made with Matthijs and it is up to Ajax how to deal with this," Raiola told De Telegraaf.

Raiola also stressed it was "out of the question" that De Ligt would attempt to force a move to Turin by refusing to return for the start of Ajax's pre-season training.

He is due to report for the Eredivisie champions on Monday, although rumours in Italy suggest Juve hope to fly him out for a medical as early as Wednesday.

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