Balotelli Completes Move to AC Milan as Transfer Period EndsBob Bensch
Mario Balotelli completed his move to AC Milan after two years at Manchester City that were marked by a Premier League soccer title and confrontations with opponents and teammates.
Balotelli, 22, signed a contract until June 30, 2017, after passing a medical yesterday, AC Milan said on its website.
“Being at City was an important part of my life and career,” Balotelli said on the English club’s website. “I needed to grow up like a player and as a person and it has been a good experience for me.”
In other Premier League moves on the final day of the January transfer period, Queens Park Rangers signed defender Christopher Samba and striker Danny Graham joined Sunderland from Swansea.
Former England captain David Beckham signed a five-month pact with Paris Saint-Germain after playing out his contract with the Los Angeles Galaxy. Arsenal signed Malaga defender Ignacio Monreal Eraso, known as Nacho, for a fee the British Broadcast Corp. said was 8.3 million pounds ($13.2 million.)
Milan is paying 19 million pounds for Balotelli, the BBC said. He scored three goals in 20 games for City this season and his future has been the subject of speculation following controversies since his transfer from Inter Milan in August 2010.
Last month City manager Roberto Mancini was photographed grabbing and pushing Balotelli at practice before the two were separated. During his stay in England, the striker also threw a dart at a teammate, brawled with City’s Micah Richards and collected four red cards.
Balotelli scored 30 goals in 80 appearances for City. He provided the pass that set up Sergio Aguero’s injury-time goal that won the club’s first Premier League title in 44 years on the final day of last season.
Samba, 28, joins QPR on a 4 1/2-year contract from Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala. QPR said the deal was a club record without disclosing financial terms.
“Chris is just what we need,” QPR manager Harry Redknapp said on the team’s website. “He’s a proper center half.”
Samba played in the Premier League with Blackburn for more than five seasons before joining Anzhi in February. QPR also said midfielder Alejandro Faurlin has joined Italian club Palermo until the end of the season. The west London team also signed Tottenham’s Andros Townsend on loan and Jermaine Jenas for an undisclosed fee.
West Brom forward Peter Odemwingie was shown on television at QPR’s facilities, although Albion officials said he didn’t have permission to open talks.
“It was all a bit of a mix up,” Redknapp said. “I feel sorry for the lad. He was advised that he should turn up here but the wires got crossed.”
Beckham, 37, signed a five-month contract with French Ligue 1 co-leader PSG. The midfielder announced in November he was leaving Major League Soccer when his contract with the Galaxy expired.
Beckham joins a club that’s backed by an investment arm of the Qatari government and has spent 250 million euros ($338 million) on players as it seeks to become one of the biggest teams in the world.
“I chose Paris because I can see what the club is trying to do,” Beckham, who will donate his undetermined salary to a children’s charity, said at a press conference in the French capital. “This is a club that’s going to have a lot of success for the next 10, 15, 20 years and that’s exciting to me.”
Nacho, who played with Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla in Malaga, is a 26-year-old leftback who has played nine times for world and European champion Spain. He joined Malaga in 2011 and was in the team that qualified for the Champions League for the first time in its history.
Graham, 27, signed a 3 1/2-year deal with Sunderland, the club said on its website. Norwich signed Leeds striker Luciano Becchio and sent striker Steve Morison to the Championship club in return.
Defender Paul Scharner joined Wigan from Hannover for the rest of the season, after having previously played with the Latics from 2006 to 2010, and Aston Villa signed midfielder Yacouba Sylla from French club Clermont Foote.
In a pair of loan moves until the end of the season, goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes joins German club Hoffenheim from Tottenham and defender Urby Emanuelson goes to Fulham from Milan.
Stoke signed Birmingham goalkeeper Jack Butland for 3.5 million pounds.