Belfast Telegraph

Roberto Mancini wants Mario Balotelli , but not at any price

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.

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

Mancini is keen to be reunited with Balotelli, whom he snapped up as Inter coach in 2006, but insists City 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 in an interview with Italian daily La Stampa.

“If someone ups the price of a player by 40 or 50 per cent, convinced that Manchester City will take them anyway, they’ve calculated wrong.”

Mancini (pictured) said Balotelli is one of four or five strikers that interest City.

“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 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.

But the Belfast Telegraph understands the Sky Blues are no longer interested in signing Liverpool’s Fernando Torres.

And Mancini appears to have ruled out a bid for World Cup Golden Ball winner Diego Forlan, saying: “I am looking for younger players.”

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