ROME: Milan have confirmed they could exercise their right of “first refusal” on Mario Balotelli if the troubled Manchester City striker is put on the market.
The report by Panorama.it, citing Inter sporting director Piero Ausilio, comes the same day City are reported to have agreed to let Balotelli go if they are offered 30 million euros (£25 million) for the Italian international.
Inter have slipped to nine points behind champions Juventus in Italy’s Serie A but will look to get their title bid back on track at home against Pescara on Saturday.
Ausilio, meanwhile, appears to have given embattled fans of the Nerazzurri hope for the second half of the campaign. He said Inter included a ‘first right of refusal clause’ in Balotelli’s contract when they sold him to City in 2007.
“If Inter decide to exercise it, then that choice will be made when and if City decide to sell,” Ausilio said.
Asked how Balotelli would fit into the side, he added: “Technically, Balotelli can fit alongside any striker.” Balotelli’s future at City has been under a cloud for some time. Known for his off-field antics, he has a troubled relationship with manager Roberto Mancini.
Balotelli and Mancini reportedly had a training ground bust-up last week, and although the City manager played it down, the latest reports from England suggest City could be tempted to sell if the price is right.
Although Balotelli is a confirmed AC Milan fan, his chances of heading to the red and black side of the San Siro appear slim after club owner Silvio Berlusconi labelled him a “bad apple” in midweek.