Football

Afternoon report: 18 January

Mario Balotelli is closing in on a return to the San Siro after reports claimed his agent has held talks with AC Milan. A fee in the region of £24m could be enough to persuade Roberto Mancini to part with the Italy international. [The Sun]

Jack Wilshere believes Arsenal can get the right result at Chelsea on Sunday, if they attack from the off. The Gunners edged a dramatic 5-3 encounter last season, and Wilshere thinks his side will need the show the same attacking intent at the weekend. [Arsenal.com]

Gareth Bale has underlined the importance of Tottenham's 3-2 win at Manchester United in September. Spurs face the Premier League leaders on Sunday, and Bale believes that victory will stand them in good stead. [tottenhamhotspur.com]

Darren Fletcher will miss the rest of the season following surgery to resolve his chronic bowel disease. The Manchester United midfielder had to take a break from the game in December 2011, but returned to make 13 appearances this season for club and country. [BBC]

Ray Wilkins believes Chelsea may struggle to find a replacement for Rafael Benitez because Roman Abramovich's ruthless approach is putting potential managers off. The Blues were linked with former-Barca boss Pep Guardiola, but the Spaniard will now take over Bayern Munich at the end of the season. [ESPN]

Gerd Muller has received a Lionel Messi signed shirt, after the Barcelona star broke Muller's long-standing goals in a calendar year record. Messi notched 91 goals in 2012, six more than Muller's 1972 total. [Daily Mail]

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