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Super Mario is returning to the Premier League as Liverpool have signed AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli for £16m.

Balotelli announced the move this morning in Milan telling reporters before training:

“This will be my last day at Milanello.”

The £16m transfer fee means that Milan will take a £3m loss on a player who scored 30 goals in 54 games for the Serie A club since joining in January 2013.

supermario

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lvg-woodwardWith less than two weeks left in the transfer market, another Manchester United manager is getting hung out to dry by Unted’s executive vice chairmanEd Woodward.

Last season David Moyes took a lot of heat for United’s laughable summer transfer activity, but as history is set to repeat itself, it is clear that the fault for United’s poor season last season rests with Woodward.

Woodward has been brilliant extracting maximum revenue from United’s corporate partners, selling the brand around the world. But as his third transfer window gets closer to closing he has yet to demonstrate that he can apply that negotiating savvy to a very different trading environment; the transfer market.

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louis-van-gaalLouis van Gaal believes Manchester United‘s 2-1 home defeat by Swansea City in his first competitive game as manager accurately reflects the enormity of the task ahead of him. Saturday’s 2-1 loss at Old Trafford was the first time in Premier League history that the 20-time champions – who finished seventh last season – have lost an opening-day fixture at home.

A spate of injuries forced Van Gaal to hand competitive debuts to two academy graduates – Tyler Blackett and Jesse Lingard – and his three central defenders had an average age of 22. Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera made his competitive debut, but United’s only other close-season recruit, left-back Luke Shaw, is currently sidelined by a hamstring injury.

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sergio-agueroAfter last weekends disastrous performance at Wembley against Arsenal, more than a few pundits were expecting Manchester City to come unstuck again today as they made the always difficult trek to Newcastle.

And they left St. James Park with all three points after David Silva gave the defending champions the lead in the 38th-minute when he made the most of Edin Dzeko’s intelligent back-heel. City fans will feel they were good value for the points after creating the better chances, although the result remained in doubt until Sergio Aguero scored in added time to secure the 2-0 win. City’s movement and passing were characteristically impressive, their finishing less so, although Newcastle were unable to work City goalkeeper Joe Hart to any real extent despite enjoying their fair share of possession.

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daniel-sturridgeLuis who? A lot of the talk this summer has been how Liverpool can replace the 30+ goals that Luis Suarez scored last season. What has been lost in the conversation is that the other half of the SaS partnership, Daniel Sturridge is still a Liverpool player.

On Sunday Sturridge shouldered the responsibility as Liverpool’s new main man up front with a late winner in a 2-1 defeat of Southampton at Anfield.

Brendan Rodgers has spent most of preseason working on improving Liverpool’s shaky back-four, but that unit showed that they are not yet a fully formed defensive unit when goalkeeper Simon Mignolet got in a tangle with Graziano Pelle at Southampton’s first corner, almost presenting the visitors with an easy chance.

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LVG and GiggsLast season Manchester United unveiled a new manager in David Moyes and in his first Premier League match in charge of the Red Devils he say his side thump Swansea 4-1 i South Wales.

Fast forward 12 months United unveil another new manager and once again Swansea were his first opponents as Swansea travelled to Old Trafford for Louis van Gaal’s first competitive game in charge.

But LVG was left with the same feeling that Moyes had last season as his new side exhibited many of the same failings from last season, as they lost 2-1 at home to Swansea.

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Manuel-PellegriniManchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has defended his decision to have no English or UK players in his starting line-up for the Community Shield defeat by Arsenal.

Four English players made the City bench at Wembley on Sunday but an all-foreign starting XI reflected Pellegrini’s recent transfer deals.

The only British signing that Pellegrini made this summer was Frank Lampard but the Man City boss seemed to indicate that he doesn’t see nationality saying:

“We’ve had a lot of problems with Financial Fair Play, but we bought some very important players.

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NeuerUefa has announced its three contenders for its UEFA’s Best Player in Europe Award and they are Bayern Munich and Germany World Cup winning goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, Holland and Bayern winger Arjen Robben and Real Madrid and Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

The winner will be announced on 28 August in Monaco, where the draw for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League is taking place. A jury made up of journalists from the 54 member associations of UEFA will decide the winner.

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suarez-teethThe Court of Arbitration for Sport have upheld Luis Suarez’s four-month ban for biting Italy‘s Giorgio Chiellini during this summer’s World Cup. Suarez’s lawyers argued that Fifa’s decision to suspend him from all “football-related activity” for biting Chiellini was excessive.

While the Cas did not reduce Suarez’s ban, they have ruled that the Uruguay striker can now train and play in friendly matches, including for new club Barcelona on Monday against Mexico‘s Club Leon.

Suarez will also be available for Uruguay’s upcoming friendlies against Japan and South Korea in September and Saudi Arabia the following month.

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louis-van-gaalIt promises to be a record breaking transfer summer in England as Manchester United are poised to spend close to £200 million to get back into race for the Premier League title again. How will last season’s top four of Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal react to United’s spending spree? Will they match it with one of their own?

The transfer window re-opened on the final day of the domestic season and will close at 23:00 BST on Monday, 1 September.

Clubs could buy domestic players again once they had played their final game of the season. International deals can go through from 10 June.

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