AC Milan and Juve in Balotelli hunt

Man City have reportedly held talks with Serie A giants AC Milan and Juventus over the possible sale of Mario Balotelli.

Last Updated: 28/01/13 at 23:05 Post Comment

Mario Balotelli: Continues to be linked with a return to Italy

Mario Balotelli: Continues to be linked with a return to Italy

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Manchester City have held talks with Serie A giants AC Milan and Juventus over the possible sale of Mario Balotelli, Press Association Sport understands.

The controversial striker has been continually linked with Milan throughout the current transfer window while Juve's interest has only just emerged.

Yet while news of the talks may increase the possibility of a sale before Thursday's transfer deadline, City are still likely to hold out for a price they believe represents good value.

As manager Roberto Mancini has maintained throughout the month, City are not actively pushing to sell. The contact is understood to have been initiated from the Italian end.

City have not yet accepted an offer for Balotelli. Speculation in Italy has suggested Milan are prepared to pay £20million plus add-ons.

Previous reports have claimed City rate Balotelli's worth at around £28million. He cost £24million when he signed from Inter Milan in August 2010.

Contrary to some reports, Balotelli has travelled with the City squad to London for Tuesday's Barclays Premier League game at QPR.

The forward is available for the game having overcome the virus which kept him out of Saturday's FA Cup fourth-round win at Stoke.

Balotelli's future has been a matter of uncertainty since a below-par display in the derby defeat by Manchester United on December 9.

He has not started a game for the club since, first after being dropped and then because of a spell out through illness.

There have been two substitute appearances in January but he has long been fourth-choice striker behind Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Edin Dzeko.

Balotelli's campaign as a whole has been an underwhelming one with just three goals, only one of which was in the Premier League.

There have been fewer of the off-field controversies which blighted his first two seasons at City this term, but that was forgotten after a high-profile training-ground bust-up with Mancini earlier this month.

Yet even as many observers were claiming that incident had to be the final straw for Mancini, the fiercely loyal manager himself said he was prepared to give him "another 100 chances".

Mancini has also stated repeatedly that Balotelli will not be leaving that club and pointed out that, with three years left on his contract, his former Inter protege remains a big part of his plans.

But it did not quell persistent rumours from Italy suggesting that Milan would make a move, nor did conflicting statements from senior figures at the San Siro.

Milan president Silvio Berlusconi has been quoted describing Balotelli as a "rotten apple" and that the club cannot pay "Monopoly money" for him in recent weeks. Chief executive Adriano Galliani has also made regular statements about the player.


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