Football

Paper talk: January 5

Mata to Napoli looking unlikely. (©GettyImages)
Mata to Napoli looking unlikely. (©GettyImages).

Mail on Sunday

Rafael Benitez has abandoned hope of recruiting Juan Mata during the transfer window. Napoli had hoped to sign the Spain international on loan, but Chelsea appear unwilling to sanction such a request.

One player who could join Mata at Chelsea for the remainder of the season is Mario Balotelli. The Italian may be on his way out of AC Milan and is also attracting interest from Arsenal and Tottenham.

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini messed up his numbers again during the FA Cup third round draw with Blackburn. Pellegrini had wanted to substitute Eden Dzeko for Jesus Navas, but Alvaro Negredo's number was held up by mistake.

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