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Balotelli ponders move to Milan or Juventus

So arrivederci Mario Balotelli. Briefly and brilliantly the Manchester City striker added a note of exuberant gaiety to the serious business of Premier League football. Now it seems likely that he will return to his native Italy to delight and infuriate his compatriots once more.

Milan and Juventus are both in discussions to sign the Italy international from City, with the size of the fee and the immediacy of the payments the main stumbling blocks. Both clubs would like to take Balotelli on loan initially while they save up their euros in a big piggy bank. City are understandably keen to see the cash, around £20 million, up front, just in case the clubs change their mind once Balotelli returns to his eccentric ways.

In the absence of Roberto Mancini, City’s assistant manager David Platt had to face questions, and carefully avoided a firm answer. "I haven't heard anything," he said. "I saw that speculation yesterday. It's a shame Robbie's not here. He might know more than me, but he is still a Manchester City player. I don't think anything is going to happen."

Balotelli may feature in City’s game against QPR, although it would seem foolhardy to jeopardise a deal with only a couple of days left in the transfer window. City may also be cautious about admitting they want rid of Balotelli given that they would have to work with the volatile player if a deal falls through. Mancini has always expressed his support for the player, even after fighting with him on the training ground.

Most City fans would want Balotelli to stay. He has already become a club legend with off-field antics that have included setting fire to his house with fireworks and dressing as Santa to distribute cash in Manchester city centre. You don’t get that kind of excitement from Gareth Barry.

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