Milan in Benatia talks
French newspaper L’Equipe has revealed that AC Milan have opened talks to sign Udinese defender Mehdi Benatia.
The highly rated defender is currently with the national team, preparing for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, but his representatives are holding negotiations with interested clubs.
AC Milan appear to be leading the race for the experienced centre-back, but Napoli and Paris Saint-Germain are also keen.
The Rossoneri are hoping to purchase the player’s contract this January and then loan him to Udinese until the end of the season.
However, should Milan officials fail to raise enough money for an assault on the Algerian, they will wait until next summer before making an official bid.
Benatia, 25, has a contract until June 2017 at Friuli, but has been promised by club chiefs that he will be sold at the end of the season.
The Algeria international was heavily linked with a switch to Arsenal in the summer, so it remains to be seen whether the Gunners will reignite their interest in the player.
Nolito set for Benfica exit
Spanish forward Nolito is likely to leave Benfica in the January transfer window, according to his representative.
While impressing in the first season upon his arrival from Barcelona, the talented attacker has fallen behind Ola John, Eduardo Salvio, Enzo Perez and Rodrigo in the pecking order this term.
This has seen him start just one Primeira Liga fixture for the Eagles, leading to speculations linking Nolito with a return to Spain.
Portuguese newspaper Record claims that player’s agent Oscar Font has confirmed that the Spaniard is unhappy at Estadio da Luz and that he wants to leave in search of first team football.
Liverpool and Granada have so far shown an interest in the Barcelona graduate, and a return to Spanish La Liga appears on the cards.
Since joining the club in the summer of 2011, the 26-year-old has scored 12 goals in 35 league appearances for Benfica.
Porto sign Marat Izmailov
Porto have announced on their official website that they have completed the signing of midfielder Marat Izmailov from Sporting Lisbon.
The Russia international has signed a two-and-a-half year deal with the Dragons, while full-back Miguel Lopes moved in the opposite direction.
Izmailov had been a target for the Portuguese giants for quite a while and finally made a switch to Estadio do Dragao.
“Everybody knows that Porto are a great team with a big, strong structure,” the Russian midfielder told club’s official website.
“Their results are better than those of any other Portuguese club. I have spent almost six years in this country and Porto have won the title practically every year. I hope to win trophies at Porto and to progress as a player and person.”
Numerous injury problems prevented Izmailov from fulfilling his potential at Sporting Lisbon, but that did not stop the Dragons from making a move on the player who scored 17 goals in 68 league games for the Lions.