AC Milan's honorary president, Silvio Berlusconi, says the Serie A outfit could make a "financial sacrifice" to secure the services of Liverpool loanee Mario Balotelli on a permanent basis at the end of the season. The Italian striker has struggled to make much of an impact in his second spell with the Italian giants so far, but Berlusconi believes the player could have a future at the San Siro.
The former Manchester City striker moved on loan to the Rossoneri during the summer transfer window following a disappointing season at Liverpool, where he scored just one goal despite being recruited as a replacement for Barcelona-bound Luis Suarez. However, the 25-year-old has so far failed to justify his return to his homeland, battling with a hernia injury, starting just two league games and scoring two goals in all competitions.
Balotelli's long-term future at Milan was questioned again in early January after manager Sinisa Mihajlovic criticised his lack of defensive effort after coming on as a substitute during the 2-1 win over Genoa.
"We should've scored a third goal and not risked anything at the end," Mihajlovic, as quoted by The Independent. "It is also my fault, as those who don't sacrifice themselves for the team to the 94th minute will no longer set foot on the field. It wasn't just Balotelli, there were another two or three as well as him, they know who I'm talking about."
But Berlusconi has surprised fans by revealing Milan could make a swoop for the player on a permanent basis at the end of the 2015/16 campaign.
"Will we sign him outright? It depends on him," he said Italia 7 Gold as quoted by Corriere Dello Sport.
"He has extraordinary technical and physical qualities, especially if he can really show maturity in terms of his behaviour in his life and his position on the pitch. He drifts out to the wings too much. If he were to do these things we'd be very happy to make a financial sacrifice and keep him here with us."