Alessio Cerci

It’s official: Fernando Torres is heading back to Atletico Madrid

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Chelsea announced over the weekend that Fernando Torres’ loan move to AC Milan would be a permanent one, and the Italian club has wasted no time in loaning him back home.

Torres will join Atletico Madrid when the transfer window opens next Monday, where he will stay until the expiration of the loan at the end of the 2015-16 season.

The 30-year-old Spanish forward hasn’t found his rich vein of form since leaving Liverpool for Chelsea in 2011, and hasn’t even found the consistency he enjoyed prior to that at Atleti. Now he’ll get to see if La Liga can be his fountain of youth.

[ MORE: Premier League roundup ]

It’s been widely speculated that struggling Atleti striker Alessio Cerci will go to Milan in the deal. Cerci scored 13 goals for Torino last season in Serie A, a career high, but has just one goal for Atletico Madrid.

Atleti is three points back of Barcelona for second place in La Liga, and four points back of Real Madrid for the top spot (though Real has played one less match due to its participation in the Club World Cup). Antoine Griezmann and Mario Mandzukic lead the club with six La Liga goals each, and Mandzukic has been especially good with five more goals in the UEFA Champions League.

Report: AC Milan tries to swap Fernando Torres for Alessio Cerci

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A laughable report came from reliable Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio today that confirms just how low things have gotten for Fernando Torres at AC Milan.

Not laughable that it was reported – the rumor actually makes sense, and comes from a reliable source – but laughable because it’s only taken 10 appearances for Milan to realize this was a mistake.

The Spaniard looked to Serie A to try and revive his floundering career, but instead things have just sunk even deeper.

Stuck on just a single goal in the Italian top flight this season, he’s lost his starting spot and now, according to Di Marzio reporter David Amoyal, AC Milan attempted to swap him for Atletico Madrid’s creative Italian forward Alessio Cerci.

Needless to say, that one was promptly rejected.

Cerci moved from Torino to Madrid this summer, and while he started 37 of Torino’s 38 Serie A matches before his move, he has struggled to find a first-team place under Diego Simeone. Cerci has garnered just 99 minutes so far this season in Spain, and has yet to start a game.

Nevertheless, the 27-year-old is still a top attacking player, and unsurprisingly Madrid isn’t keen on parting ways with the man who cost them around $22 million.

Amoyal’s report says AC Milan did offer cash in addition to Torres, but still the offer is someone ridiculous. If his old club doesn’t want him back, who is going to desire Torres enough to pay him what he might ask for? Things are starting to look bleak for the struggling 30-year-old. His magical days with Liverpool have faded into a faraway, fleeting memory, trumped instead in most minds by his jaw-dropping misses in recent years. So what next for Torres?

Balotelli not in Italy squad, but Conte says he’s watching

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Mario Balotelli has looked sporatic since joining Liverpool, and has yet to score for the Reds in five matches.

His difficulties have led to the 24-year-old being yet again left off the Italy roster for the upcoming international break, as he was the last time around.

But new manager Antonio Conte says things aren’t by any means over for the beleagured Italian striker.

”He has started on a new path, it’s not easy,” Conte said of Balotelli’s move to Liverpool. ”Let’s give him time to integrate himself in this new league.

“We are following him just as we monitor all Italians that play abroad. I make selections not exclusions, which is something completely different.”

It hasn’t helped Balotelli that a number of Italian strikers are booming across Europe. Most notably, Graziano Pelle was added, and Conte had nothing but great things to say about the 29-year-old lighting up the Premier League who earned his first Italian call-up.

“Graziano represents that which I’ve said from the very first day — meritocracy,” Conte said. “He’s a footballer who has scored 50 goals in the past two years. Now he’s in a league which on paper is more competitive than the Dutch one and he is becoming a key player.”

Liverpool’s new man has tons of competition, with Conte selecting a whopping six strikers for his squad, but none named Mario. Pelle, Pablo Osvaldo, Mattia Destro and Ciro Immobile have all scored multiple goals for their teams this season, and were selected alongside Juventus’s Sebastian Giovinco and Sassuolo’s Simone Zaza.

Others not selected but still very much in the mix include Antonio Cassan0 and Alessio Cerci.

Andrea Pirlo was not initially selected, but he was added to replace an injured Giacomo Bonaventura. Italy will take on Azerbaijan on Friday and Malta on Monday in Euro 2016 qualifiers.

Done Deal: Transfer activity roundup

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Today, a couple of notable moves have taken place, as the summer transfer window’s deadline day is right around the corner, tomorrow actually.

Let’s take a look at some of the finalized, or near finished, moves to prominent leagues in specific countries.

ENGLAND

Chelsea officially finished the transfer for QPR forward Loic Remy to a four-year deal, as the Premier League squad was able to put a $17.43 million release clause into affect to acquire him.

Heavily sought-after Ajax defender Daley Blind sits on the verge of completing a $23,239,090 to Manchester United, The Telegraph reports. “He shall come to Manchester to have his medical and then we shall have a new player,” United boss Van Gaal said.

ITALY

Fernando Torres was once considered one of the top players in the world, but he hasn’t mustered consistent triumphs at Chelsea, and so, they have loaned the 30-year-old on a two-year deal to AC Milan in Serie A.

21-year-old Marco van Ginkel, another quality young Dutch player, was reported to have arrived in Italy and then inked a one-year loan deal with AC Milan.

SPAIN

After a solid loan spell last season, Sevilla have successfully signed midfielder Stephane Mbia to a permanent contract. The Cameroonian notched three goals in 18 contests as a defensive mid in 2013-14.

Atletico Madrid have agreed to a three-year deal for Torino’s Alessio Cerci, who scored 21 goals and totaled 19 assists a season ago.  He also was a member of Italy’s 2014 World Cup team.

GERMANY

Manchester United man Shinji Kagawa has exited Manchester United, and the Premier League all together, making his return to Borussia Dortmund, where the 25-year-old gathered consecutive Bundesliga crowns during his first spell at the Westfalenstadion.

Reports: Alessio Cerci to Atletico Madrid is nearing completion

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Multiple journalists, including Gianluca di Marzio and Tancredi Palmeri, have reported that Torino hitman Alessio Cerci has come close to completing a move to Atletico Madrid.

Di Marzio is reporting that Cerci will fly to Madrid tomorrow to both complete his medical and sign the contract after a month of negotiations.

Reports all over Italy are corroborating these claims at the same time, suggesting there was probably an intentional leak to the media about the deal.

The 27-year-old Italian bagged 13 goals and 12 assists behind Ciro Immobile at Torino last year in Serie A play.  Torino also sold Immobile this summer, to Borussia Dortmund.

His Twitter account was “hacked” – according to Cerci – when it sent out a tweet about joining Atletico about a week ago, but it appears the move will now go through.

Cerci reportedly asked Torino for a transfer, and it would now appear to be happening on loan with an option to buy rumored to be around $26 million.

The move was likely to happen after Cerci was pulled from Torino’s matchday squad for their opening Serie A match of the season against Inter.

There are rumors that an English investment fund is providing the money for the option to buy, which is worrying for Atletico Madrid financially and certainly won’t please FIFA’s new Financial Fair Play investigations.  Spanish clubs have often struggled to manage proper finances and this will only add to those rumors.