Mario Balotelli to Arsenal: Silvio Berlusconi claims poor World Cup display has halted £28m move for Italy striker

AC Milan president says Arsene Wenger is stalling on move for the 23-year-old
  • @Tom_Sheen

Controversial AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi has claimed he has lost out on £28m because of Mario Balotelli's poor performances at the World Cup.

Berlusconi claims a €35m (£27.7m) deal to "a top English club", believed to be Arsenal, has stalled because the 23-year-old was lacklustre in Brazil.

"Other than Italy, I’m the one who lost at the World Cup," Gazzetta Dello Sport report Berlusconi said at a political meeting.

"I was selling Balotelli to an English team for several millions, but, after this World Cup, who will buy him now?

"I was going to sell it to a top English club for €35 million, now the deal has stalled."

Balotelli scored in Italy's opening 2-1 win against England, but failed to find the target against Costa Rica and Uruguay as Cesare Prandelli's men were eliminated at the group stage.

Balotelli's agent Mino Raiola last week said the former Manchester City striker was "sad" in Milan after he was blamed for Italy's early exit.

"Mario is sad, desperate," he said. "Only Galliani has defended him while the FIGC (Italian football federation) remains absolutely silent."

Balotelli has scored 30 goals in 54 matches since moving back to Italy in January 2013, but has been the subject of racist abuse.

Arsenal are now being linked with a big money move for Barcelona and Chile forward Alexis Sanchez.