Balotelli move to Man City in balance

Manchester City and Manchester United target Mario Balotelli will have his future resolved by the end of next week, according to the player's agent.

The temperamental 19-year-old could be poised to leave the San Siro to be reunited with former mentor Roberto Mancini at Manchester City, freeing up funds for new Inter manager Rafa Benitez to launch a bid for Liverpool's Javier Mascherano.

Speculation had been rife in Italy, with Gazzetta dello Sport reporting that Balotelli had already put pen to paper on five-year deal worth £3.3 million a season, in a deal worth £25 million to the Italian and European champions.

Gazzetta even went as far to say that Balotelli could be set to make his debut for the Citizens against Inter in Baltimore on Saturday as part of the two clubs' pre-season tour of America.

The reports were inflamed over the weekend when Balotelli reportedly held a leaving party in Milan, telling friends he had completed a deal worth £65,000 per week.

But Mino Raiola, who represents Balotelli, insisted that no deal had been finalised.

"Nothing has been signed between Balotelli and Manchester City and I doubt anything will be in the next few days," Raiola told the Ansa news agency.

"There is no news and most likely there will be on Monday or Tuesday. For the moment, however, there is no signature [with Manchester City]."

Balotelli has been strongly linked with a move to England this summer, with Manchester United and Manchester City both said to have made enquiries into the hot-headed teenager, with Sir Alex Ferguson thought to be keen on pairing the Italian youngster with Wayne Rooney in the Red Devils' front line.

But the Eastlands side's football administrator Brian Marwood is thought to have been in Milan trying to gazzump their Old Trafford rivals, with Brazilian outcast Robinho being offered as bait.

Despite his obvious talent, Balotelli hit the headlines more often for his erratic behaviour than for his on the pitch achievements last season.

By James Martini

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