AC Milan ask Manchester City to lower asking price for Mario Balotelli

Manchester City are demanding over £20m for the Italian striker

AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani needs Manchester City to lower their asking price for Mario Balotelli before he makes a formal bid for the striker's services.

The Rossoneri have been preparing an approach for the ex-Inter Milan striker, a self-confessed Milan fan, but City are reported to be demanding 28million euros (£23.5million) for a player they bought for 22million euros (£18.5m) in 2010.

Milan are also eager to tie up a long-term loan deal for Real Madrid forward Kaka having raised 15million euros (£12.5m) from Alexandre Pato's sale to Corinthians last month.

Galliani told the Gazzetta dello Sport: "If Balotelli's price comes down then I'll get over to Manchester immediately."

While it remains to be seen whether the Serie A giants will make their interest in Balotelli formal before the February 1 deadline, representatives of Milan, Real Madrid and Kaka are set to hold a second round of talks over the player's future tomorrow, following positive discussions in Milan last week.

Rossoneri president Silvio Berlusconi has never managed to keep his adulation for the Brazilian playmaker a secret.

Kaka won the Serie A title, Champions League, Supercoppa and the Club World Cup during a successful six-year spell in Milan, being awarded the Ballon d'Or in 2007 before joining Real for 68.5million (£57.5m) in 2009.

Quoted on Gazzetta.it, Berlusconi told Sky Italia: "As a fan I have always dreamed of his return.

"Not just because he is a great player but because he is a great man and he has always been in our hearts."

When asked if Milan could persuade Manchester City to part with Balotelli for six sizeable instalments, as has been suggested in the Italian press, Berlusconi added: "Frankly, I don't know."

Milan climbed into sixth place in the Serie A table with a 2-1 victory over Bologna yesterday and head coach Massimiliano Allegri remains cautiously optimistic that Kaka could arrive in time to boost a late challenge for the Champions League places.

"It's not definite that Kaka will come so we have to wait for that," he told acmilan.com.

"If he comes, the technical level of the team will rise without a doubt."

City boss Roberto Mancini has consistently maintained that he has no intention of selling Balotelli.

Balotelli has been at the centre of a number of controversies during his time at Eastlands but after a training-ground bust-up with Mancini this month, the manager said he was prepared to give him "another 100 chances".

When asked about the transfer speculation concerning Balotelli, Mancini said: "No, it is not true. I am very, very happy (with Mario)."

PA

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