Manchester City pin hopes on AC Milan taking 'rotten apple' Mario Balotelli off their hands

Roberto Mancini admits defeat in battle to change wayward striker – but Silvio Berlusconi is not keen

Manchester City believe that Milan could come in with a €30m (£24m) bid for Mario Balotelli this month, despite their owner Silvio Berlusconi dismissing the player as a "rotten apple", and would leap at the chance to sell him.

City believe that none of Berlusconi's comments are to be taken at face value because he will contradict himself from one day to the next. With manager Roberto Mancini privately finally resigned to the fact that he will never convince the 22-year-old striker that he is throwing away his career, a bid from Milan – Balotelli's boyhood team – would allow City to recoup money on a disastrous £22m investment and his £170,000-a-week wages.

City have been aware for some time that the Serie A side would need to sell Robinho or Alexandre Pato to pave the way for a Balotelli bid. Pato arrived in Sao Paulo today, having completed a move to Corinthians after a deal in which the Brazilian side paid €15m (£12m) for 60 per cent of the forward's economic rights. The Milan vice-president, Adriano Galliani, said today that Robinho would not leave, after a deal which would have returned the "homesick" former City player to Santos fell through.

Mancini's willingness to sanction Balotelli's departure demonstrates that the two latest controversies to have beset him – the threat to take City to a Premier League tribunal and last week's training ground bust-up with Scott Sinclair and the manager – have pushed things to the point of no return. Publicly, Mancini insisted last week that the confrontation, in full view of the long-lens cameras which pictured him with his head in his hands, had not persuaded him to cut his losses. Balotelli would get "100 chances" to change his ways, he said last Friday.

But Mancini has accepted that he simply cannot predict what Balotelli will do next and that he can have no control over external influences in his private life, which he feels are leading the player astray.

The City manager is turning his attentions to the aspects of the side he can influence and will attempt to persuade his board to add a central defender to the squad this month. Mancini has been told that there will be no spending in this transfer window unless an emergency crops up and he feels that Kolo Touré's departure to the African Cup of Nations, combined with Micah Richards' long-term knee injury, does fall into that category. It leaves him with only Vincent Kompany, Matija Nastasic and Joleon Lescott at centre-back. Mancini, who tried to buy Liverpool's Daniel Agger in the summer, does not feel a loan deal will be adequate as the players of the quality he requires are not available in the loan market.

Mancini, who is convinced that his side can compete for the Premier League title if they are within Manchester United's reach at the end of next month, has received Sergio Aguero back from Italy, where he has been undergoing treatment on a hamstring tear. He will not be fit to travel to Arsenal on Sunday but could face Fulham next weekend.

Mancini has asked his most trusted physician, 73-year-old Sergio Vigano, based at Monferrato, Piedmont, to help Aguero back to fitness. Mancini first met Vigano when the physio worked with him on the muscular problems he experienced as a 17-year-old player at Sampdoria. He was physio to Mancini at Sampdoria, then followed him to Lazio and Internazionale. More recently Vigano came over for the title run-in last season and treated Pablo Zabaleta, Kompany and Samir Nasri.

City's David Silva has insisted that his side have a tough challenge, hauling back United's seven-point lead, but supported Mancini's view that the next six weeks are pivotal. "It won't be easy, but our challenge is to be back level with Manchester United by the end of February," Silva said. "Last year we saw how they were in front by quite a lot of points, and we won the league, so it can be done.

"Our goal this season was the Champions League. Perhaps being knocked out of Europe had an influence [on our title campaign]. But now we need to react and to demonstrate that City are the English champions and intend to remain so. There is a long way to go, but we can't allow United any more advantage."

News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
News
David Ryall in Harry Potter
people
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Wayne Rooney warms up ahead of the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at White Hart Lane
football
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
filmIdris Elba responds to James Bond rumours on Twitter
News
Hackers revealed Oscar-winning actress Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
film
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015