Balotelli is surprise Reds target

The English Premier League is always the most vibrant of Europe’s transfer dealings because it is the most lucrative and as the big kick off approaches next week there are some surprising moves pending.

For instance, Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers wants to sign AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli, who was previously an Arsenal target.

The Reds still want to another quality striker after a move for Loic Remy broke down and are looking to the mercurial Balotelli to fill the gap.

Despite his bad boy image, Balotelli, 23, is the sort of player that excites Rodgers, he said.

Milan are willing to accept $20 million for Balotelli who has not fully settled in his Italian homeland since leaving Manchester City last year.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is still interested in Germany’s World Cup winner Mats Hummels.

The Gunners are ready to outbid Manchester United for the Borussia Dortmund defender who is valued at around $40m.

United look likely to sign Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen, who is wanted by Barcelona, too. The Belgian centre-half, rated at $14m, will also be a free agent next summer.

For once, Wenger has serious money to spend this summer and, despite splashing out more than $80 million already, is prepared to make at least two more major signings after the captures of Alexis Sanchez, keeper David Ospina and full-backs Calum Chambers and Mathieu Debuchy.

He wants a world-class central defender if Vermaelen leaves and sees Hummels as an ideal replacement.

Van Gaal intends to play with three at the back this season and wants two more central defenders.

Arsenal can give Hummels Champions League football this season – and they could give them the edge over United to sign him.

Tottenham are set to make a move for striker Samuel Eto’o who is a free agent now after Chelsea dropped him. West Ham are also interested in the Cameroon international.

Real Madrid may make a move for Chelsea keeper Petr Cech if the 32-year-old Czech keeper is ousted at Stamford Bridge by Thibaut Cortois, 22.

Manchester United believe their attempts to spend a club-record transfer fee on Real Madrid’s Angel Di Maria are bolstered by Paris Saint-Germain’s difficulties adhering to UEFA financial fair play sanctions.

The Argentina international is on the market for $70 million and PSG are more likely to get him because the French title-holders will play Champions League football this season.

While PSG’s Qatar ownership has the financial clout to outmuscle United on Di Maria’s fee and salary, the club has to adhere to a Financial Fair Play settlement in this season’s transfer market and prevents it from increasing total salary costs.

PSG need to sell two players before concluding a deal for Di Maria, with buyers sought for Ezequiel Lavezzi and Javier Pastore.