City on brink of Balotelli deal, hints boss Mancini

MANCHESTER CITY boss Roberto Mancini has hinted that the protracted transfer of Mario Balotelli from Inter Milan could be due to the teenage striker’s over-inflated price-tag but believes everything will be resolved in the next 24 hours.

Balotelli has long been linked with a move to City and reports in Italy yesterday suggested the Barclays Premier League club have agreed a fee for the 19-year-old, who Inter claimed they would not sell for less than €35 million.

Mancini is keen to be reunited with Balotelli, who he snapped up as Inter coach in 2006, but insists they will not pay over the odds for anybody.

“There is the money to buy anyone but not to pay them a lot as some people are saying,” Mancini said.

“That’s in general terms. If someone ups the price of a player by 40 or 50% convinced that Manchester City will take them anyway, they’ve calculated wrong.

“He (Balotelli) is one of the four or five strikers that interest us.

“I was the first to believe in him and I’m convinced about what he can give. Mario has two qualities that suit us: his talent and his age, because I want people able to build a cycle at Manchester City.

“That said we return to the problem of valuation that has to be just. I like the player and at certain conditions. That’s all.

“I think that in a couple of days certain situations will be clearer, but I can’t guarantee in what way.”

Jerome Boateng, Aleksandar Kolarov, Yaya Toure and David Silva have already joined City this summer but Mancini’s recruitment drive is far from over.

Among the players City have been linked with are Fernando Torres, Edin Dzeko, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Diego Forlan, though Mancini now appears to have ruled out a bid for the Uruguay striker who won the Golden Ball award for the best player at the World Cup.

“Those that I am interested in are those that the newspapers are saying apart from Forlan,” continued Mancini.

“He’s formidable and I was in love with him when he played at Villarreal four or five years ago.

“I would have taken him to Inter. Today instead I am looking for younger players.”

Mancini said Liverpool’s asking price could dictate whether City will make a bid for Torres.

“Torres is one of the best strikers in Europe and is already playing in the Premier League for three years and knows it very well,’’ said Mancini.

“But it depends on his situation – his price and whether he wants to come.’’ There are not many clubs who can afford to match City’s spending powers, especially in the current economic crisis.

However, Mancini insists his Premier League counterparts have nothing to be jealous about.

“If at Manchester City we think we have to spend, it’s only because we have a lot to change,” he added.

“I could be jealous of colleagues that already have their squad ready.”


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