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St. Kitts and Nevis
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Meyer to leave Schalke on a free transfer


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 By Ben Gladwell

Inzaghi: Balotelli exit will strengthen us

AC Milan coach Filippo Inzaghi believes his side could become stronger when Mario Balotelli leaves the club.

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Balotelli, 24, is set to join Liverpool only 18 months after arriving at the Rossoneri, where he scored 30 goals in 54 games.

However, most of those goals came in the first half of his spell at the Serie A club, and Inzaghi -- while paying tribute to the forward -- believes his side may actually benefit from the departure.

"We're losing a great player, but we're gaining that little bit more in terms of the desire and team spirit," Inzaghi told reporters after Milan defeated Juventus and Sassuolo to win the Trofeo TIM preseason tournament at the weekend.

Inzaghi is likely to gain another attacking option this week before the transfer window closes with the club's general manager Adriano Galliani revealing "the priority is to sign a new centre forward."

And the Milan boss, who succeeded Clarence Seedorf this summer, is hopeful that search will be successful.

"The club knows what we need and if somebody does arrive, then that would be great," he told reporters in Reggio Emilia.

In the meantime, Inzaghi can take heart from the return to action of Stephan El Shaarawy, who missed most of last season due to injury, and the form of new arrival Jeremy Menez, as well as that of Keisuke Honda -- all attacking alternatives this term.

"[Menez] can play across the line in attack and this enables us also to play with a different system," Inzaghi said. "He's a very versatile player."

Nevertheless, he is not the kind of player club president Silvio Berlusconi has been hoping for -- a classic centre forward.

Alessio Cerci does not entirely fill the bill, although he remains the most likely candidate with further talks between Galliani and Torino's president Urbano Cairo due to take place this week.

The Italy international scored 13 goals for the Granata last season and, like Menez, would be a versatile option for Inzaghi.

The two clubs, though, are still a few million euros apart in their respective valuations.

Roma's Mattia Destro may be what Berlusconi is after but his price tag is likely to put Milan off, just as they were warned off signing Porto's Jackson Martinez.

"If we don't manage to get anybody, then we'll just carry on the way we are," Inzaghi said. "What I was interested in seeing in Reggio Emilia was the desire of the players. After seeing the team's performance, I'm relaxed. We've got the right spirit."


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