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
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
booksWell it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Sport
footballSporting Lisbon take on Chelsea as Manchester City host Roma
News
i100
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
News
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mystery man: Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in '‘Gone Girl'
films
News
businessForbes 400 list released
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
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

Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn