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Manchester City sign Nolito, Balotelli returns to Liverpool

Manchester City have confirmed the signing of Nolito from Celta Vigo.

The Spain forward, 29, has agreed a four-year contract to become the second arrival of Pep Guardiola’s reign as manager.

His transfer represents the second time he will have worked for the Spaniard, having done so when he was at Barcelona before joining Benfica in 2011.

“Pep Guardiola is one of the best managers in the world," Nolito told City’s official website. “He knows a lot about the game and he’s going to help me progress as a player and I’m sure he’ll get the best out of me.

“I’ll try to bring as much as I possibly can. I’ll do everything that the manager asks of me, try my absolute best and do everything I can to try to repeat the form I’ve shown throughout my career at various clubs.

“It’s just about trying to play my normal game and let’s hope that I can help Manchester City to win games."

Nolito, whose real name is Manuel Agudo Duran and who has been given the No 9 shirt, started each of Spain’s four fixtures before their elimination from Euro 2016.

His three seasons at Celta produced the finest football of his career, and a record of 39 goals in 103 appearances.

He is considered a late developer, having not represented Spain before turning 28, and will vie for selection in the most competitive positions in City’s squad.

Sergio Aguero is expected to remain their first-choice striker, meaning Nolito’s rivals include, among others, David Silva, Kevin de Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Jesus Navas and Samir Nasri.

Nolito joins Ilkay Gundogan at City after the Germany midfielder became Guardiola’s first signing last month.

Balotelli to resume Liverpool training

Liverpool misfit Mario Balotelli will return for training this weekend as his Anfield exit is still not agreed.

All players who have not had international commitments at Euro 2016 or the Copa America will report to the club’s Melwood base on Saturday as manager Jurgen Klopp begins his first pre-season.

That means striker Balotelli, who was loaned to AC Milan after enduring a woeful maiden season at Anfield, in which he registered just one Premier League strike, will be subjected to the same rigorous schedule as the rest of the squad.

Klopp’s four new signings – £30million (Dh146.7m) forward Sadio Mane, defender Joel Matip, midfielder Marko Grujic and goalkeeper Loris Karius – will all be in attendance to meet their new teammates.

Liverpool had hoped Balotelli’s agent Mino Raiola would have found a suitable destination for the 25-year-old player, having been given the go-ahead to do so in February, but links with the Chinese Super League and Turkey have failed to turn into anything more substantial.

Defender Martin Skrtel, who is still on leave after captaining Slovakia at the European Championship, is expected to complete a £5m move to Fenerbahce in the next few days as Klopp’s clear-out continues. The German manager has already allowed Kolo Toure’s contract to expire.

On Thursday Liverpool agreed terms with Watford for young striker Jerome Sinclair, with Press Association Sport understanding the club will receive £4m instead of having to go through a tribunal to claim a development fee for the 19-year-old player.

Sinclair became Liverpool’s youngest player aged just 16 years and six days when he made an appearance in a League Cup tie against West Bromwich Albion in September 2012.

Although he scored his maiden senior goal in January, he has now chosen to try his luck elsewhere.

Townsend signs up with Palace
Crystal Palace have signed Andros Townsend from Newcastle for £13 million (Dh63.4m).

The England international has agreed a five-year contract at the club, and his transfer comes on the same day Dwight Gayle has moved in the opposite direction.

“I’m extremely delighted," the 24-year-old winger told Palace’s official club website. “I had chats with the manager [Alan Pardew] and chairman (Steve Parish) before I signed and I’m pleased to be part of Crystal Palace’s future.

“By the sounds of things it’s going to be a bright one and I can’t wait to get started."

In becoming Palace’s club-record signing surpassing the £10m spent on Yohan Cabaye last summer Townsend has moved clubs for the second time in little over six months.

He joined recently-relegated Newcastle for the same fee from Tottenham in January, and his fine form there he scored four goals in 13 appearances as one of the few players to impress despite their poor season earned him a call-up to England’s initial squad for Euro 2016.

“It’s fantastic that we’ve managed to get a player of Andros’ quality into the club," Parish said. “He has played in the Premier League for a number of years and represented England on many [11] occasions and yet he’s still only 24 years old.

“Andros is another exciting attacking talent that we have added to our ranks and I can’t wait to see him in a red and blue shirt in the very near future."

Townsend’s arrival further strengthens Palace’s already strong options in the final third. He is expected to play on either wing, where the talented Wilfried Zaha and Yannick Bolasie are regulars, and where Jason Puncheon also vies for selection.


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