Goal.com reports AC Milan manager Massimiliano Allegri has hinted at a January move for Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli. The 22 year old Italian international has had trouble holding down a regular starting position at the Etihad this season and has made only six Premier League starts for Roberto Mancini's side.
"He is an important player with extraordinary physical and technical qualities. I believe, however, given his qualities, he threw away a few years of his career. I think they have done good things with the Italian national team. But I want to talk about AC Milan and the players I have. Then, in January, we will see what happens," Allegri was quoted as saying.
An earlier IBTimes UK report suggested the former Inter Milan forward confided in French international Patrice Evra of Manchester United and told the left back of his desire to return to Italy. The Mirror has linked Balotelli with a summer return to former club Inter but president Massimo Moratti has since ruled out any move for the player. Finally, Balotelli has also been linked, by the Daily Star, with a £40m move to Ligue 1 leaders Paris St Germain (PSG).
The striker, who had an excellent summer with the Italian national team, guiding the Azzurri to the final of the 2012 European Championships, has started only four of the last 10 games for his club, with the Argentine pair of Carlos Tevez and Sergio Agüero and Bosnian international Edin Dzeko clearly the preferred choices.
Incidentally, 26 year old Dzeko was also linked with a move to Milan in the summer, after a lack of first team chances with City. However, the former Wolfsburg forward has stuck it out in Manchester and his return of six league goals in 12 appearances (five starts) only increases pressure on Balotelli (one goal in 12 appearances (six starts)). Dzeko and Tevez started the midweek 1-0 defeat at Dortmund in a critical Champions League group stage match, with Agüero and Balotelli making substitute appearances.
Hart Unhappy with City
Meanwhile, City goal keeper Joe Hart has criticised his club for failing to qualify for the knock-out stages of the Champions League for the second season in a row. City's tally of three points from six matches is the worst performance by an English team in the Champions League and a fourth-place finish means the Premier League champions will not even play in the second-tier Europa League, like they did last season.
"Of course we've let ourselves down, because we haven't even got in the Europa League. Was it the same old story? Yes. I don't know why. I'd love to answer it. We need to address it though. There was a hunger to win and if that meant Europa League, than great. But we've got bigger issues than that. We were up against a weakened team and we had to win," the England No 1 said, "We should be fighting to go through to the last 16 on the last day of the group stage and we've only got ourselves to blame that we're not."