Mario Balotelli to Juventus rumours a 'hoax', says club general manager

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Mario Balotelli has been linked with an unlikely move to Juventus.

Juventus general manager Giuseppe Marotta has dismissed reports that the Serie A champions are interested in signing Italian striker Mario Balotelli as “a hoax”.

There were reports that a five-year deal was in the offing for the former Manchester City striker, who has hit top form for Nice this season with 17 goals.

“Beyond our affection, esteem and liking for this boy it’s a fantasy football story,” Marotta told Mediaset Premium on Monday.

“His is a profile we don’t need.”

Balotelli won six trophies with Inter Milan including the Champions League before moving to Manchester City in 2010, followed by two spells at AC Milan either side of an unsuccessful stint at Liverpool.

The 27-year-old left Liverpool on a free transfer in August 2016 to join Nice, who are sixth in the French league this season.

Marotta confirmed the reigning six-time league champions’ interest in Liverpool’s German international Emre Can, whose contract expires in June.

“We know his contract is expiring but he could renew or have other opportunities,” said Marotta.

“We’ll try to bring him to us, I think a big club has to have the ambition to achieve difficult objectives.”

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Alexis Sanchez aims to join list of great Man United No7s after signing from Arsenal

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Alexis Sanchez inherits the famous No. 7 shirt at Manchester United.

Chile international Alexis Sanchez has completed his move from Arsenal to Manchester United and will take the number seven shirt.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at some of the other players who have worn the jersey with success in the past.

JOHNNY BERRY (1951-58)

Berry was one of the Busby Babes who was forced to retire due to injuries he sustained in the Munich air disaster. However, he did manage to win three league titles during his eight years at the club and was regarded as one of the best young players in Britain.

GEORGE BEST (1963-74)

Not exclusively a number seven. Indeed, Best probably wore number 11 more often. However, on the greatest night of his footballing life, when United defeated Benfica in the 1968 European Cup final at Wembley, he was wearing the seven shirt. He also won two Division One titles with United.

George Best wore No. 7 the night he led United to European Cup glory in 1968.

George Best wore No. 7 the night he led United to European Cup glory in 1968.

STEVE COPPELL (1975-83)

He may not quite have the profile of some of the others to wear the shirt but Coppell kept the number seven for six years on his arrival at United. He wore it in three FA Cup finals, including the 1977 victory over Liverpool.

Steve Coppell wore the No. 7 with distinction.

Steve Coppell wore the No. 7 with distinction.

BRYAN ROBSON (1981-94)

Coppell switched when Robson made his British record move from West Brom in 1981. The inspirational midfielder became the first player to captain three FA Cup-winning teams, also led United to the 1991 European Cup Winners’ Cup, and the League Cup before getting his hands on the first Premier League title in 1993.

Bryan Robson was the first great No. 7 of the modern era.

Bryan Robson was the first great No. 7 of the modern era.

ERIC CANTONA (1992-97)

When the Premier League made squad numbers mandatory at the start of the 1993-94 campaign, Cantona was handed the shirt. The Frenchman had already earned himself a place in United folklore and went on to win four titles and two FA Cups, scoring the winner against Liverpool in the 1996 final, when he had also been named captain.

Cantona brought an aura to the No. 7 shirt that has rarely been matched.

Cantona brought an aura to the No. 7 shirt that has rarely been matched.

DAVID BECKHAM (1992-2003)

After Cantona’s sudden retirement, Beckham jumped at the chance to switch from 10 to seven. It meant he was the player who wore the shirt during the 1998-99 treble-winning campaign, and the subsequent titles in 2000, 2001 and 2003.

David Beckham made the No. 7 famous.

David Beckham made the No. 7 famous all over the world.

CRISTIANO RONALDO (2003-09)

Beckham’s profile meant there was always going to be a spotlight on who inherited the shirt and Ronaldo proved to be the perfect successor in more ways than one. During a six-year stint in which he won three league titles he was also crowned World Player of the Year in 2008 for his phenomenal 42-goal contribution to a campaign in which United also won the Champions League.

Cristiano Ronaldo is Manchester United's last great No. 7.

Cristiano Ronaldo was Manchester United’s last great No. 7.

Lead image taken from Manchester United’s official Instagram account

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Man United get Alexis Sanchez for Henrikh Mkhitaryan - Football's biggest swap deals

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Mkhitaryan for Sanchez is the latest high-profile swap.

Alexis Sanchez has completed his move from Arsenal to Manchester United with Henrikh Mkhitaryan moving in the opposite direction.

Here, Press Association Sport looks back at five other player-swap deals and how they worked out for those involved.

ASHLEY COLE AND WILLIAM GALLAS

Ashley Cole’s deadline day move to Chelsea from rivals Arsenal in 2006 brought to an end one of the most bitter transfers of the Premier League era and saw William Gallas go the other way, along with a fee of £5million. Cole, a member of Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’, added another league title with the Blues as well as four FA Cups and the Champions League in 2012 in a successful eight-year spell. Gallas won nothing with the Gunners and moved to Tottenham on a free in 2010.

Cole and Gallas swapped in one of the most acrimonious transfers in history.

Cole and Gallas swapped in one of the most acrimonious transfers in history.

KEVIN DAVIES AND JAMES BEATTIE

Roy Hodgson was in charge of Blackburn in 1998 when they paid Southampton £7.5million for striker Kevin Davies and also threw in James Beattie. But Davies managed just one league goal all season as Rovers were relegated, while Southampton beat the drop with Beattie scoring five times. Davies rejoined Saints a year later, this time in a swap with Egil Ostenstad. Beattie stayed at Southampton until 2005, scoring 68 goals.

James Beattie and Kevin Davies were swapped for each other, then became teammates.

James Beattie and Kevin Davies were swapped for each other, then became teammates.

JERMAIN DEFOE AND BOBBY ZAMORA

Tottenham emerged with the only major signing on deadline day in January 2004 when they landed Jermain Defoe from relegated West Ham in a £7million deal which saw Bobby Zamora move in the opposite direction. The transfer worked for both clubs, Defoe scoring 91 Premier League goals over two spells with Spurs and Zamora hitting the winner in the 2005 Championship play-off final which saw West Ham secure their return to the top flight.

Defoe and Zamora squared off numerous times after their initial swap deal.

Defoe and Zamora squared off numerous times after their initial swap deal.

ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC AND SAMUEL ETO’O

Zlatan Ibrahimovic signed a five-year contract with Barcelona in 2009 to end his three-year spell at Inter Milan, with the Spaniards paying £40million and sending popular forward Samuel Eto’o to Italy in return. In one of the rare disappointments of his glittering career, Ibrahimovic spent just a year at the Nou Camp before joining AC Milan in 2010 after falling out with Pep Guardiola. Eto’o, meanwhile, thrived in Serie A winning the domestic title and a Champions League winner’s medal under Jose Mourinho.

The Eto'o-Ibrahimovic transfer is one of football's highest-profile swap deals.

The Eto’o-Ibrahimovic transfer is one of football’s highest-profile swap deals.

ANDY COLE AND KEITH GILLESPIE

A shock move in 1995 saw Newcastle swap their star striker Andy Cole for £6million plus Manchester United winger Keith Gillespie. At Old Trafford, Cole won five Premier League titles, two FA Cups and the Champions League – including the treble in 1999 – and scored a total of 121 goals in 275 games. Gillespie was also a success with the Toon, becoming a key figure in Kevin Keegan’s entertaining side which twice finished runners-up to United.

Keith Gillespie for Andy Cole: a deal that worked out well for both sides.

Keith Gillespie for Andy Cole: a deal that worked out well for both sides.

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