Former Inter Milan manager Roberto Mancini could soon be reunited with one of his former players, if the price is right.
According to reports last night, talks are ongoing between Manchester City and Inter Milan over the sale of promising striker Mario Balotelli.
In speaking to Sky Sports 24, Inter president Massimo Moratti said of the discussions, “At this moment there are contacts with Manchester City, we must find an agreement that satisfies both us and them.”
Manchester City have reportedly offered almost £23m for the 19-year-old, but Inter are said to be looking for more than £30m for their prized prospect.
If the two sides are able to strike a deal, Balotelli would be reunited with Mancini, who handed the youngster his first-team debut against Cagliari in December 2007. Mancini would hand Balotelli seven league starts that season, and the then-17-year-old repaid the manager’s confidence by picking up three goals and three assists, along with notching braces against Reggina and Juventus in the Coppa Italia.
Balotelli, who has also been linked with Manchester United recently, had his share of issues in Jose Mourinho’s two seasons at the club, and there’s no question that he still has strides to make in regards to his maturity. However, there’s also no questioning his potential as a footballer, and perhaps a change of scenery and being under the guidance of a familiar face in Mancini could be just what Balotelli needs to become the player he can be.
At the least, he should be buoyed by Mancini’s praise and confidence in him, as stated yesterday in the City manager’s comments about transfers. Mancini said, “I do not think he has character problems.”
“When you are young, you make mistakes. That is true of all of us. I do not think he is a hard player to work with. I think he is a fantastic player.”
If City can land Balotelli, he’ll become their third big-money signing of the summer, and two more could soon follow, with City set to soon complete a deal for Lazio left back Aleksandar Kolarov and an improved offer likely forthcoming for Aston Villa midfielder James Milner.