Balotelli close to Liverpool switch

Transfer Talk is back for another day of wheeling and dealing. Tune in throughout the day for up-to-the-minute transfer news.

Top pick: AC Milan have confirmed they are in talks with Liverpool over the sale of Italy striker Mario Balotelli to the Reds.

- Jose Mourinho is prepared to allow Fernando Torres leave Chelsea this summer as he eyes up a swoop for Roma forward Mattia Destro.

- Lukas Podolski could be heading for the Arsenal exit, with Galatasaray leading the race to sign the World Cup winner.

- Bayern Munich honorary president Franz Beckenbauer has urged the club to sign Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira.

- Real Madrid could decide to keep Angel Di Maria after influential duo Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos held talks with club president Florentino Perez in an attempt to convince him not to sell the Argentina international.

21.10 BST Italian transfer guru Gianluca Di Marzio says that, after a day of negotiation between all parties, the transfer of Mario Balotelli from AC Milan to Liverpool is almost complete. More talks are scheduled for Friday.

20.25 BST Paris Saint-Germain manager Laurent Blanc has told a press conference that signing Angel Di Maria will be "difficult". The French champions have long been linked with the Argentine winger but Blanc claimed that "there are a lot of clubs interested ... PSG can't just do what it wants."

19.30 BST DONE DEAL Lazio have announced the signing of 29-year-old defender Santiago Gentiletti from Argentine side, San Lorenzo.

17.30 BST Can Barcelona bounce back after failing to win a trophy for the first time in six seasons last term? ESPN blogger Dermot Ledwith previews their season expectations here.

17.25 BST Queens Park Rangers chairman Tony Fernandes says that he has spoken with Harry Redknapp about a new signing.

Could it be a new striker or is it the playmaker that 'Arry has been bursting for? Well, no, actually...it's for a horse!

17.20 BST Blackburn Rovers have rejected a 12 million pound offer from Hull City for striker Jordan Rhodes.

Steve Bruce's side are in the market for another forward following the sale of Shane Long to Southampton but talkSPORT says Blackburn are holding out for 15 million pounds for their most prized asset.

Rhodes, 24, has been in impressive form since making the move to Ewood Park in August 2012, scoring 53 goals in 99 games.

17.10 BST Bayern Munich honorary president Franz Beckenbauer has said he would love to see Marco Reus at the club and described him as a potential "steal," in comments likely to further aggravate Borussia Dortmund.

The relationship between Dortmund and Bayern has grown increasingly frosty in recent weeks, with the latter publicly stating their interest in Reus, as well as revealing that he has a release clause -- reportedly 25 million euros -- in his contract. Read the full story here.

17.00 BST Burnley manager Sean Dyche has calmed supporters' fears by admitting that there is money for the club to spend in the transfer window.

The newly-promoted Premier League outfit have only spent five million pounds this summer but Dyche admits that he is still keen to add to his squad, with Wigan midfielder James McArthur at the top of his shopping list.

"There is finance available. It's not endless but it is available," he said, as reported by The Express. "We still have to use it wisely and cut our cloth accordingly."

16.45 BST Atletico Madrid defender Toby Alderweireld has emerged as a transfer target for Arsenal after being told he does not feature in Diego Simeone's first-team plans for the upcoming season.

The 25-year-old Belgium international was linked with both the Gunners and Spurs last summer, but moved to the Spanish capital from Ajax instead.

Alderweireld was left out of the Spanish Super Cup first-leg against Real Madrid on Tuesday and reports in Belgium speculate that Arsenal could now make a move for the player, who is equally adept at both right-back or centre-half -- as they seek a replacement for compatriot Thomas Vermaelen.

16.30 BST West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce has ruled out the chance of signing a striker before the end of the transfer window, saying that he will focus all his resources on acquiring a new centre-back.

16.20 BST Liverpool are set to swap one controversial striker in Luis Suarez for another in Mario Balotelli but this move is ultimately great business for Brendan Rodgers and all at Anfield, writes Gabriele Marcotti. Read his article here.

16.10 BST Former Liverpool striker Florent Sinama Pongolle looks set to be heading to the MLS.

The 29-year-old is currently a free agent following the expiry of his FC Rostov contract earlier this summer and is training with his first club Le Havre in an attempt to build match fitness.

L'Equipe says that Chicago Fire have made a proposal to the Frenchman and hope to tie up the deal in the next few days.

16.00 BST ESPN blogger John Cross says that additions are still needed at Arsenal if they are to be genuine title contenders. Read his article here.

15.50 BST Milan have drawn up a four-man shortlist to replace Liverpool-bound striker Mario Balotelli, according to reports in Italy.

While Porto's Colombian forward Jackson Martinez is their preferred candidate, a deal looks unlikely as the Portuguese side are demanding the 35 million euros required to activate the release clause in his contract.

The Rossoneri could therefore cast their gaze towards the Premier League, where Manchester United's Javier Hernandez, Tottenham's Roberto Soldado and Manchester City's Alvaro Negredo are all available at the right price.

15.40 BST Former Newcastle United fan favourite Faustino Asprilla has urged the club to sign a proven goalscorer before the transfer window closes.

The Colombian says that he is impressed with the Magpies' summer dealings so far but with ex-Monaco striker Manu Riviere, former Argentina Under-20 international Facundo Ferreyra and inexperienced forward Ayoze Perez all untested in the Premier League, Asprilla is concerned that Newcastle may struggle for goals.

"I already like the look of Cabella and Riviere," he said, as reported by Chronicle Live. "Janmaat has come in and settled straight to the team and with De Jong to come we're already looking a stronger proposition.

"They still need an out and out striker. Somebody like Loic Remy who can guarantee them 15-20 goals in a season.

"If they can pull in a striker I think the fans are in for a good year this time."

15.25 BST Everton manager Roberto Martinez has indicated that he will move for a striker in the next 10 days if Arouna Kone does not recover quickly from injury.

The Toffees have been strongly linked with a move for Cameroon international Samuel Eto'o but Martinez says that any move for the former Chelsea striker, who has also attracted interest from Liverpool and Ajax, would depend on the fitness of Kone, who has not played since suffering a knee injury last October. Read the full story here.

15.15 BST West Bromwich Albion manager Alan Irvine has confirmed the club's interest in Greece international striker Giorgios Samaras.

The 29-year-old is currently a free agent following the expiry of his Celtic contract earlier this summer.

15.10 BST Versatile Montpellier midfielder Benjamin Stambouli has been left out of the club's league tie with Metz at the weekend, further fuelling speculation that he could join Fiorentina or Swansea City.

15.05 BST Some news from the Bundesliga now where VfL Wolfsburg sporting executive Klaus Allofs has refused to rule out the sale of attacker Bas Dost who has dropped to number three in the pecking order in Wolfsburg's attack.

The 25-year-old has been linked with Feyenoord, and there has also been interest from Premier League, with Bild reporting that Southampton, Swansea City and Newcastle United are all keeping tabs on his situation.

"The question is whether something interesting comes up," Allofs said.

Meanwhile, Hamburger SV are set to announce the signing of Corinthians centre-back Cleber within the next 24 hours. The Brazilian arrived at Hamburg airport yesterday, and will sign a four-year-deal with Mirko Slomka's side.

The transfer takes Hamburg's wage bill to 46 million euros -- eight million more than they have catered for -- and the Bundesliga club could now listen to offers for Norway international Per Skjelbred and Sevilla target Milan Badelj.

14.55 BST Newcastle United are bracing themselves for an offer from Lokomotiv Moscow for Cheick Tiote.

Magpies boss Alan Pardew is reportedly keen to retain hold of the Ivory Coast international but club owner Mike Ashley is willing to sell the midfielder if he receives a sizeable bid.

The Mirror says that Lokomotiv are prepared to meet Tiote's wage demands and hope to convince Newcastle to sell by offering eight million pounds.

14.40 BST Someone call the transfer police because we have reports of a hijacking!

Reports in France claim that Swansea are plotting to steal away Costa Rica midfielder Yeltsin Tejeda from under the noses of Evian who was set to join the Ligue 1 side on a four-year contract.

Yeltsin landed in Geneva yesterday only to to take a flight to London for talks with Swansea rather than finalising the deal with Evian.

Evian have told the player that he must arrive at the club on Thursday or else they will withdraw their offer -- but Tejeda and his agent are rumoured to be holding out on a move to Swansea despite the fact that the Welsh club are yet to agree a fee with Saprissa.

14.30 BST Mario Balotelli has said his goodbyes to his AC Milan teammates and the club's staff ahead of a proposed move to Liverpool.

The Italy international trained for probably the last time with the Rossoneri on Thursday before leaving the club's training facilities at Milanello. The 24-year-old's next training session is likely to be for the Reds after the two clubs reportedly reached an agreement over a fee for the Italy international.

"Mario Balotelli left the Milanello Sports Centre at 13:30 after having said goodbye to his teammates," said a statement on the Serie A club's website. "The forward, before exiting through the gates, bid farewell to the press office staff. Around 50 fans were also grouped in front of the gates to say goodbye to him."

Balotelli's agent Mino Raiola is currently meeting with Liverpool representatives to agree personal terms. The Italian forward could be signed in time to make his debut against former club Manchester City on Monday night.

14.20 BST Real Madrid winger Angel Di Maria, who has told Real Madrid he wants to leave the club and has rejected the offer of a new contract, holds the key to his future in his own hands, coach Carlo Ancelotti said on Thursday.

Real Madrid have set an internal minimum price for a transfer of 70 million euros (62 million pounds), according to ESPN FC sources.

Di Maria has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United, with recent reports suggesting the Red Devils are willing to spend up to 100 million pounds across the transfer fee and wages to take the Argentine to Old Trafford. The clock is ticking.

14.10 BST Milan have joined Arsenal in the race to sign promising Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Adrien Rabiot.

The France under-21 international has expressed his desire to play more regular first-team football and gianlucadimarzio.com says that Milan are prepared to offer him that opportunity by proposing a two-year loan deal.

Rabiot has only one year remaining on his existing deal and PSG run the risk of losing him on a free next summer, with Inter, Juventus and Roma all waiting to snap up the 19-year-old.

14.00 BST Blackburn Rovers have confirmed that they have received an offer from Hull City for talisman Jordan Rhodes.

The 24-year-old has proved one of the most prolific and sought-after strikers in the Championship in recent times and it is believed that Hull are prepared to pay the full 12 million pounds they received from Shane Long's transfer to attain his services.

13.45 BST The agent of Mattia Destro has confirmed Chelsea's interest in the Roma striker, but insists that talks of a swap deal with Fernando Torres are wide of the mark.

"It's true that Chelsea are interested in Mattia," he told Press Association Sport on Thursday. "But the reports regarding a swap deal have no foundation, it's all speculation.

"Roma don't want to sell Mattia and Mattia prefers to remain at Roma."

13.35 BST Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger insists he has no regrets over his decision to reject the option of bringing Cesc Fabregas back to his club this summer, but he admits it is "strange" to see him in a blue Chelsea shirt. Read the full story here.

13.25 BST Daily Mail journalist Ian Ladyman says that the main issue surrounding Angel Di Maria's proposed move to Manchester United is the player's reluctance to give up Champions League football...

13.20 BST Barcelona are closing in on the signing of Brazilian right-back Douglas, according to Sao Paulo's vice president of football Ataide Gil Guerreiro.

However, the deal to recruit the 24-year-old has been complicated by FIFA's decision to reject Barca's appeal against a two-window transfer ban. Read the full story here.

13.10 BST Galatasaray president Unal Aysal has revealed that Cesare Prandelli does not want Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski.

Reports in the English and German press claimed that the Turkish club were leading the race to sign the 29-year-old Germany international but Aysal has dismissed such reports, claiming that Prandelli has now turned his attentions to more affordable targets after being denied in his attempts to sign Arsenal's highly-rated Costa Rican Joel Campbell.

"I asked Cesare Prandelli if we should target Lukas Podolski," he said, as reported by Turkish Football. "Prandelli told us that Podolski would be a luxury transfer and that he isn't required. As a result we didn't pursue the matter further."

"Joel Campbell is an excellent, young, promising player. However, Arsenal have not transfer listed him and won't let him leave so there is nothing we can do."

13.00 BST AC Milan have been dealt a blow in their quest for a replacement for Liverpool-bound striker Mario Balotelli.

The Rossoneri had identified Porto's Jackson Martinez as a potential candidate but it is now unlikely that they will pursue a deal as the Portuguese club say they will not accept anything less than the 35 million euro release clause inserted into his contract.

12.55 BST Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has spoken on the futures of Angel Di Maria and Sami Khedira...

12.45 BST Medhi Benatia has refused a new contract offer from Roma, further fuelling speculation that he will leave the club.

The Morocco international defender has been strongly linked with a host of major European clubs this summer and has now made it clear that he sees his future away from the Italian capital.

Roma coach Rudi Garcia is desperate for the centre-back to stay and help the Giallorossi challenge for the Scudetto but Gazzetta dello Sport says that club president Walter Sabatini will meet with Manchester United and Arsenal representatives to listen to offers.

Chelsea and Bayern Munich have both registered an interest in the 27-year-old and that could spark a bidding war, with Roma determined to earn around 40 million euros from his sale.

Should Benatia leave, Roma will turn their attentions to Manchester City's Matija Nastasic or Tottenham's Vlad Chiriches as a replacement.

12.30 BST Atletico Madrid have unveiled new signing Jesus Gamez to the media.

The right-back signed a three-year contract with the Spanish champions after agreeing a move from Malaga.

12.25 BST West Bromwich Albion are rumoured to be on the verge of signing Greece international striker Giorgios Samaras.

The 29-year-old is a free agent following the expiry of his Celtic contract earlier this summer and he will be looking forward to a second bite of the cherry in the Premier League after scoring eight goals in 54 league appearances during a two-and-a-half year spell with Manchester City.

12.15 BST The cover of Super Deporte says that Enzo Perez is closing in on a move to Valencia.

The Spanish club have enjoyed a flurry of transfer activity under Peter Lim and the Argentina midfielder is expected to be the fourth Benfica player to join Valencia this summer following the arrivals of Rodrigo, Cancelo and Andre Gomes.

12.05 BST Lukas Podolski's agent has told Bild there is "concrete interest" in the Arsenal forward.

Podolski is under contract at the Emirates until 2016, but faces competition for regular playing time following the arrival of Barcelona attacker Alexis Sanchez, 25, and the return of Costa Rica international Joel Campbell.

Wenger has already given the go-ahead for the 29-year-old Germany international to leave the Premier League side, with Galatasaray the frontrunners for his signature. Read the full story here.

11.55 BST Why aren't Arsenal pursuing a move for Mario Balotelli? Italian journalist Tancredi Palmeri reveals all...

11.50 BST Manchester United's signing of Marcos Rojo took their expenditure this summer to 72 million pounds, making it a club-record outlay for any transfer window. Read the full story here.

11.45 BST Arsene Wenger has admitted that Arsenal could sign some defensive reinforcements before the transfer window closes in 11 days' time.

The Gunners are looking short of numbers at the back following the sale of Thomas Vermaelen to Barcelona and Wenger admits that he will have no choice but to add to his squad if Mikel Arteta's ankle injury proves to be more serious than initially diagnosed.

"At the moment, we are not in an emergency case. We have the players we want but we are open as well to any opportunity until the end of the transfer window to strengthen our defensive department in quality and number," he told reporters at a press conference on Thursday.

"If it's a long-term injury [for Mikel Arteta] that puts us in a position where we have to be creative."

11.30 BST Manchester United have denied they made offers to Germany duo Thomas Muller and Marco Reus.

Muller signed a new five-year deal with Bayern Munich in June before heading off for his country's victorious World Cup campaign in Brazil though Reus' future at Borussia Dortmund has been thrown into question amid reports that he can leave the club next summer for just 25 million euros.

Muller told Bild on Wednesday that he had received an "astronomical" offer when asked about an approach from Old Trafford while Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo said he abandoned his attempts to bring in Reus because United had already failed with a more lucrative offer.

Can Manchester United complete a deal under the radar? Read the full story here.

11.20 BST Spanish journalist Guillem Balague has provided his latest information on Real Madrid duo Angel Di Maria and Sami Khedira.

11.10 BST Porto have reportedly agreed a 10 million euro fee with Lorient for highly-rated forward Vincent Aboubakar.

The 22-year-old Cameroon international was the second highest scorer in Ligue 1 last season with 16 goals and his potential arrival at the Estadio do Dragao could pave the way for Jackson Martinez to join Milan as a replacement for Liverpool-bound Mario Balotelli.

All aboard the transfer merry-go-round!

11.00 BST Bayern Munich continue to be linked with a raid for Borussia Dortmund star Marco Reus and the club's honorary president Franz Beckenbauer has admitted that he hopes to see the 25-year-old follow in the footsteps of Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski.

"Reus is a steal, I would love to see him at FC Bayern," he told Sky Sport News HD.

10.50 BST ESPN correspondent James Horncastle has given his take on the Mario Balotelli situation...

10.40 BST Reports in France claim that Marseille have offered Andre Ayew to Newcastle United.

The Ghana international forward has seen his stock rise after an impressive World Cup where he scored against the USA and Germany and the Ligue 1 club are keen to take advantage and get him off the wage bill.

The player has previously expressed his desire to play in the Premier League and Marseille president Vincent Labrune is currently in London in a desperate attempt to find a suitor in the final 11 days of the transfer window.

10.30 BST Could Mario Balotelli be heading back to the Premier League? Well, Milan have confirmed on their official website that "negotiations are underway" with Liverpool for the Italy international striker.

Respected journalist Gianluca Di Marzio says that the deal is worth an estimated 20 million euros and the player's agent Mino Raiola will be in Liverpool this afternoon to negotiate personal terms. Read more here.

10.20 BST Bayern Munich's honorary president, Franz Beckenbauer has recommended that his club sign Germany international Sami Khedira.

The World Cup winner has been told that he can leave Real Madrid this summer as he has no intention of renewing his contract which expires next year and Pep Guardiola could plump for the 27-year-old midfielder after Javi Martinez's cruciate ligament injury and the ongoing knee problems to Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thiago Alcantara.

"Khedira would fit into any team. He'd be outstanding at Bayern. He's incredibly skilled in his number six position. He could play alongside Schweinsteiger or Lahm. He'd be great," Beckenbauer said, as reported by MARCA.

10.05 BST Highly-rated Schalke defender Sead Kolasinac says that Manchester United are interested in signing him, as Louis van Gaal continues to identify potential reinforcements to strengthen his back line.

Versatile at playing at left-back or in central defence, Kolasinac appeared for Bosnia at the World Cup and helped Schalke to qualify for the Champions League last season.

The 21-year-old was strongly linked with a move to Old Trafford back in April and it remains to be seen whether United will pursue a move in the final 11 days of he transfer window after completing the capture of Marcos Rojo yesterday.

Kolasinac told Dnevni Avaz: "More than two months ago Schalke received an an official offer from very successful English club Manchester United for me. This option is still open.

"The club is one of the world's top. Of course... it would be great to play at Old Trafford. In football you never know what will happen. Anything is possible. There's still time until the end of the transfer period and we'll see.

"I'm not here to play for a lifetime at Schalke. People go where it is better and where they can thrive."

9.55 BST Stevan Jovetic has quashed reports that he could leave Manchester City before the end of the transfer window by claiming that he hopes to play a more pivotal role at the club this season.

The Montenegro international forward struggled for fitness last term but has finally forced his way into Manuel Pellegrini's plans after enjoying a rich vein of form in preseason.

Jovetic has been constantly linked with a move back to Italy but the 24-year-old insists that he is determined to become a success in England.

"I know that I am going to be an important player for this club and I am happy to be a part of this team," he said, as reported by Sky Sports. "Of course, I am expecting so much from me this season, I expect to score so many goals."

9.45 BST MARCA say on their cover today that Real Madrid could perform a U-turn and keep Angel Di Maria at the club.

The Argentina midfielder has been closely followed by Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United all summer but it is now believed that Di Maria could stay at the Santiago Bernabeu after influential duo Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo tried to convince club president Florentino Perez not to sell him.

9.35 BST Juventus general manager Beppe Marotta has sought to end the speculation surrounding Arturo Vidal by saying the Chile international is not on the market.

Manchester United and Barcelona have been linked with the midfielder this summer, but Marotta insisted such talk was wide of the mark.

Marotta also confirmed that sought-after France international midfielder Paul Pogba was about to commit his long-term future to the Serie A champions while claiming that although the club are still active in the transfer market, they are yet to bid for Benfica defender Luisao or Paris Saint-Germain forward Ezequiel Lavezzi. Read the full story here.

9.25 BST Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes has revealed that he's "genuinely scared" that his old team will become Premier League also-rans if major personnel changes aren't made immediately.

Louis van Gaal added Argentina left-back Marcos Rojo to his ranks yesterday but Scholes claims that his former club still needs at least five experienced players if they are to regain their place at the perch of English football.

Who does he recommend? Only Real Madrid quartet Xabi Alonso, Sami Khedira, Raphael Varane and Angel Di Maria plus Borussia Dortmund's World Cup winner Mats Hummels.

Not asking for much, is he? Read the full story here.

5.00 BST For those monitoring the Jermaine Jones to the MLS rumours. 'Nuff said here:

Something in the air tonight, Fernando

Chelsea could have done with Fernando Torres on Monday night, couldn't they?

Well, no, and that's the problem -- the Spaniard looks completely superfluous at Stamford Bridge now, and Diego Costa's goal and promising debut performance against Burnley won't have been lost on him.

Jose Mourinho would happily let the striker move on, and Thursday's Times had an exclusive that suggested he might just get his wish.

It said Chelsea would like to sign Roma's exciting 23-year-old forward, Mattia Destro, and let Torres move to the Stadio Olimpico on loan in return.

Roma had been looking to replace Destro with Stevan Jovetic, but he'd rather stay at Manchester City after a promising start to his season -- so the deal involving Torres looks as if it might just fly.

Finally, Mario?

Why always him?

Mario Balotelli, who was linked with Arsenal earlier in the summer, tops the agenda in many of tomorrow's newspapers. The earlier story linking him with a loan to Liverpool seems to have legs of some kind, with the Telegraph going particularly big on the notion that Brendan Rodgers will turn to the maverick ex-Manchester City man to fill a gap in his attacking options that has yawned away all summer. Sources have confirmed the sides are talking.

But not so fast, said the Star, which claimed Balotelli's current employers, AC Milan, are stalling over a 'good behaviour' clause in the firework-igniting forward's deal. That clause would essentially mean Liverpool could send him back to the San Siro at any time of his loan deal, with a particular eye on whether he misbehaves.

Silva lining up for switch?

The Star has something else for us. They divulged that Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea are all on the trail of Brazilian wunderkind Lucas Silva, a defensive midfielder currently with Cruzeiro.

Atletico Madrid are making eyes too, though, and might have more luck on the work permit front -- an issue English clubs often struggle to get around with young South Americans.

Art attack?

Big news in the Mirror that Arsenal might buy ... errr ... someone, after they found out Mikel Arteta will be out for a minimum of two weeks due to the ankle sprain he picked up against Besiktas.

They might have decided it's worth filling that defensive midfield gap, at least until he returns. But with whom?

Probably not Sami Khedira, maybe not William Carvalho. Perhaps the report is simply conjecture, but it's worth keeping half an eye on.

Pod to trot?

More Arsenal news from the Sun, which said Galatasaray are good to sign Lukas Podolski if they want him -- but Arsene Wenger will draw the line at Costa Rican wonderkid Joel Campbell, who will not be permitted to leave.

The newspaper had claimed the Turkish side wanted both players for a combined 22 million pounds, which seems slightly curious given that both are versatile, wide or central forwards with rapier-like left feet, but if they simply couldn't choose between the two, then the Gunners might just have made the decision a little easier.

Hull take the high(-priced?) Rhodes

Finally, another day means another striker with whom Hull are linked.

Jordan Rhodes, the prolific Blackburn centre-forward, is the latest name the Mirror suggest will replace Shane Long in Steve Bruce's lineup.

Rhodes, a pure penalty box poacher, seems a rather different kind of player than those previously linked and, indeed, Long, but Hull are apparently up for testing the water with a bid of eight million pounds and half again in extras. Rhodes scored 25 Championship goals the past season and 26 the year before. Time to see whether he can step things up a level?