French club Paris St Germain (PSG) are reportedly interested in signing Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli. The 22-year-old Italian international has dropped down the pecking order at the Etihad in recent games and reports indicate the Premier League champions are looking to offload the former Inter Milan man in January, to fund a move for Atletico Madrid forward Radamel Falcao. Other reports suggest Balotelli's former club, Inter, are interested in bringing the player back to the Giuseppe Meazza.
The Italian himself has reportedly admitted a desire to return to Italy and his absence from the City squad for the 5-0 home win against Aston Villa, for a lack of commitment in training sessions, will only fuel transfer speculation.
"I think Mario needs to work harder. If any player doesn't work hard it is difficult that he can play at this level. What you do in training you do in the game, and every player needs to work hard to improve his performance in the training sessions. After that he can play well in the game," City coach Roberto Mancini explained.
Mancini, for all his disagreements with Balotelli, is an admirer and supporter of the youngster but the former Lazio manager has been told that if he wants to sign new players, particularly strikers, one of his four strikers (Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Balotelli) must be released. On present form, there is absolutely no chance either Tevez or Aguero will leave and although summer reports linked Dzeko with a transfer, the Bosnian has since worked his way back into first-team plans at City. This leaves only Balotelli.
PSG were interested in the striker earlier in the season as well; City turned down a £40m bid. However, marquee striker signings like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ezequiel Lavezzi cooled that interest... until now. The club, managed by former Chelsea and AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti are on top of the French league, with 23 points from 13 games, but have lost twice in the last two league games and the Champions League-winning manager admitted he was concerned by recent results. However, he stopped short of explicitly mentioning Balotelli.
There is also interest, it is understood, from Ancelotti's former side, Milan, with reports suggesting either a loan offer or a straight swap with young forward Stephan El Shaarawy. Balotelli is a confessed admirer of the Rossoneri and the fact he recently bought a £750,000 apartment in Brescia (only hours away from Milan) for his pregnant girlfriend, Raffaella Fico, could persuade the youngster to choose Italy over France, if offered the choice.