Man City open Balotelli transfer talks

Manchester City have held talks with AC Milan and Juventus about the sale of striker Mario Balotelli, but will only let him go if the Serie A clubs meet their valuation.

AC Milan, who are already in negotiations with City about bringing Italy international Balotelli back to Serie A, according to Sky Italia, and it appears Italian champions Juve are now competing with them for the 22-year-old’s signature.

City manager Roberto Mancini has consistently rubbished speculation linking Balotelli with a return to Italy, and as recently as Monday morning assistant manager¬†David Platt played down the prospect of a deal before Thursday’s transfer deadline.

“I don’t think anything is going to happen,” said Platt of a proposed January move.

“It’s a shame the manager’s not here. He might know more than me but as far as we are concerned I think he is still a Manchester City player.

“We’ve three days left before the deadline, but I haven’t heard anything, to be honest. It’s speculation he continued.

But the latest reports suggest a move for Balotelli could be imminent.

Balotelli, who previously played for Inter Milan, was labelled a “bad apple” by Milan’s owner Silvio Berlusconi earlier this season after a series of disciplinary problems during his two-and-a-half-years in England.

But neither that outburst, nor Berlusconi’s claim last week that the 22-year-old is out of Milan’s price range, has killed off talk of a deal with speculation in Italy suggesting Milan are prepared to pay around ¬£20m plus add-ons.

Balotelli has travelled with the City squad to London for the game at QPR and is available having overcome the virus which kept him out of Saturday’s FA Cup fourth-round win at Stoke.