Marseille in a mess as Niang leaves and Luis Fabiano bid fails

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Reigning French champions Marseille have been dealt a double attacking blow, with last season’s top-scorer Mamadou Niang joining Fenerbahce and transfer target Luis Fabiano staying put at Sevilla.

Senegal striker Niang captained the south coast club for much of last season, as his 18 league goals fired Marseille to the Ligue 1 title.

But the Ligue 1 holders confirmed after Sunday’s 3-2 defeat to Valenciennes that Niang would be leaving the club to link up with Turkish side Fenerbahce.

Marseille are 9/4 to retain their Ligue 1 crown this season, though this task will be made difficult without the influential Niang.

And the situation is exacerbated by the club’s failure to sign Brazilian striker Luis Fabiano, whose price tag at current club Sevilla, thought to be €18m, has been deemed too high.

“The price set by Sevilla is out for us,” Marseille president Jean Claude Dassier admitted. “Now we are working on other players.”

It has been a turbulent period for 50/1 Champions League contenders Marseille, as forward Hatem Ben Arfa has pledged never to play for the club again as he agitates for a move to Newcastle.

The French international has effectively gone on strike at the Stade Velodrome, where attacking options are becoming scarcer by the day.

Elsewhere in Europe, Inter Milan manager Rafa Benitez continues to rebuild at the San Siro, and the latest to arrive is winger Giuseppe Sculli.

Having sold Mario Balotelli to Manchester City for a reported £22.5m last week, Benitez has a sizeable transfer budget, and Sculli is expected to cost €5m from Genoa.

Can Inter repeat last year’s success? They are 9/1 to retain their Champions League crown. See the full UEFA Champions League Betting Odds market.

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Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.