Tuesday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup: Balotelli to Arsenal, Morrison to United

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Seeing how Ravel Morrison is all grown up and mature at West Ham United, the midfielder’s previous club, Manchester United, are having serious misgivings.

West Ham bought Morrison from United for £650K and agreed to pay a further £250K with every appearance he makes for the Hammers.

A clause in his convoluted contract, however, allows Morrison to be sold if an offer of £18M is made or if they receive a one-off payment of £10M. United are tempted and apparently, so is Fulham manager Rene Meulensteen.

West Ham won’t be excited by the prospect of losing Morrison but that extra dough could come in handy to mitigate the losses from shelling out £15.5M on Andy Carroll last summer. The Hammers will then turn their interest to shoring up a defense that is in desperate need of a center-back. Everton’s Jonny Heitinga looks to be a good fit, with the Dutchman keen on proving why he should be in the World Cup squad. Lofty goals, Mr. Heitinga.

It wouldn’t be a transfer roundup column without mentioning a target of Manchester City, who are desparate to secure a fifth center-back just in case Vincent Kompany, Joleon Lescott, Matija Nastasic and Martin Demichelis don’t pan out. The object of their desire is 23-year-old Villarreal center-back Mateo Musacchio, who the Yellow Submarine claim is only available for £45M. It’s a lofty goal for the Spanish side as most value the young Argentine in the range of £8M.

Over at Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers has his eye on a few players including Sevilla midfielder Ivan Rakitic. The Croatian international is valued at around £10M, well within Fenway Sports Group’s wallet range, except that Manchester United, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain are now also linked with the center midfielder. Let the bidding war commence.

Speaking of auctions set to occur this January, expect the bidding for Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa to start at £35M. And with Arsenal, Chelsea and Borussia Dortmund all reportedly interested in the striker’s services, that number could easily surge up to £45M. But don’t worry Goonahs, in the event that Arsenal becomes gun shy Arsene Wenger has a backup plan: 20-year-old Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata.

Finally, we stick with Arsenal for this last one because it’s simply too juicy not to mention. It’s possible that the stars are aligning to pave Mario Balotelli‘s way to the Emirates. It’s a move that makes sense when considering the precarious situation at AC Milan and Arsenal’s need for a striker to spell Olivier Giroud in the second half of the season. Granted, he’s a handful. But he’s also a world-class striker and if Arsene Wenger were willing to try and tame Luis Suarez, who’s to say he wouldn’t be open to doing the same with Balotelli?

Report: City Football Group set to expand outreach with Girona deal

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City Football Group appears on the verge of adding to its global outreach, and it’s next destination looks to be in Spain.

[ MORE: Are Southampton’s days of selling behind the club? ]

The group of investors, which are known for controlling Premier League side Manchester City, are reportedly nearing a deal to purchase a partial stake in Spanish club Girona — which is set to make its La Liga debut in 2017/18.

CFG is said to be gaining a near “50 percent” stake in the club, with the rest of the club owned by Media Base, a company owned by Pep Guardiola‘s brother, Pere.

Over recent years, CFG has vastly expanded its ownership outreach and currently has a stake in five clubs around the world, with Girona set to be the sixth.

MLS side New York City FC, Australian A-League side Melbourne City FC, Japan’s Yokohama F. Marinos and Club Atletico Torque in Uruguay are all part of the CFG enterprise, alongside Man City.

New York Red Bulls ink goalkeeper Luis Robles to new deal

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The “Iron Man” will keep up his amazing journey with the New York Red Bulls, after signing a new deal with the club on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Wesley Sneijder on verge of joining Los Angeles FC ]

Goalkeeper Luis Robles has extended his contract with the reigning Eastern Conference champions, as the American continues to raise his consecutive starts streak, which stands at 157.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed in the club’s release.

Robles joined the Red Bulls back in 2012 after playing in Germany, and the shot-stopper hasn’t missed a start ever since.

Report: Minnesota United adds Hearts midfielder Sam Nicholson

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Minnesota United has had its shares of ups and down in its debut MLS season, but the Loons are on the verge making an exciting young signing.

[ MORE: Wesley Sneijder closing in on Los Angeles FC move ]

ESPN FC is reporting that Minnesota will sign Hearts winger Sam Nicholson from the Scottish Premier League on a deal that makes him a Loon until 2019.

The young attacker is expected to join the MLS side when the summer transfer window opens on July 10.

Nicholson, 22, has played with the Edinburgh side since his youth days, and made his senior debut with the club in 2013. During his time at Hearts, Nicholson scored 16 goals in all competitions for the team.

Last season, Nicholson missed 16 matches due to a significant knee injury.

According to the report, Scottish sides Rangers and Aberdeen were also among those interested in acquiring Nicholson, while English Championship clubs Bristol City and Barnsley also reached out about the attacker.

Premier League vet Scott Parker calls quits on playing career

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Scott Parker has announced his retirement from soccer after a stellar 20-plus year career in England.

[ MORE: Chile bests Portugal on PKs to reach Confed Cup final ]

The 36-year-old spent almost the entirety of his career in the Premier League, and played with seven teams during his time on the pitch.

“I believe now is the right time to move on to the next chapter in my life and career,” Parker said in a statement.

“I feel incredibly honoured and proud to have enjoyed the career that I have and I’ve loved every moment of it.”

Parker began playing with Charlton after coming up through the team’s youth academy, before completing a move to Chelsea in 2004.

Throughout his career, Parker also spent time at Newcastle, West Ham and Tottenham, before finishing up at Fulham this past season.