Belfast Telegraph

'Milan almost sold Balotelli'

AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi has revealed he came close to selling striker Mario Balotelli to an unnamed Premier League club prior to the start of the World Cup.

Balotelli has been strongly linked with a return to England this summer, with Arsenal reportedly keen to acquire his services for around 35million euros.

The former Manchester City striker scored just one goal in three appearances in Brazil as Italy suffered early elimination from the tournament.

"Other than Italy, I lost during the World Cup," Berlusconi was quoted as saying in Gazzetta dello Sport.

"I was about to sell Balotelli to an English team for several millions. But after this World Cup who will buy him any more?"

Milan vice-president Barbara Berlusconi last month hinted at the possibility of a Balotelli transfer this summer by saying he is "replaceable".

Balotelli's agent Mino Raiola also opened the door for his client's move away from the San Siro.

Raiola claimed the 23-year-old was "sad and desperate" after being widely criticised in the Italian media following his disappointing World Cup.

Balotelli, who still has four years left on his contract with the Rossoneri, has scored 28 goals in 54 matches for Milan since his move from Manchester City in January 2013.

Milan are keen to sell Balotelli for financial reasons. The Rossoneri will not compete in Europe next season for the first time in 16 years after finishing a disappointing eighth in Serie A.

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