Arsenal have been encouraged in their pursuit of Mario Balotelli after AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi refused to rule out the striker's departure.

After last summer's failed pursuits of Gonzalo Higuian and Luis Suarez, the Gunners are expected to pursue an established forward presence this summer in their bid to close the gap on Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea.

Although the club are also considering moves for Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata and Queens Park Rangers' Loic Remy, Balotelli remains Arsene Wenger's preferred choice and recent reports suggest the club are confident of prising him away from the San Siro, given Milan's need to reinvest in their own squad.

In response to interest emanating from north London Berlusconi has insisted there will be no decision made on the striker's future until Milan, who are likely to part ways with Clarence Seedorf after his clashes with vice-president Adriano Galliani last season, name a new coach.

"Will Balotelli stay? We have not decided about the market yet, neither for signings nor for sales," Berlusconi said, Sky Sports report.

"We are evaluating, anyway, new players, but to take decisions we must wait for the new coach. "

Balotelli's eventful first spell in the Premier League came to an end in January 2013 when Milan paid £24m to bring him back to Serie A. However another disappointing season, which culminated in the club finishing the 2013/14 campaign in eighth place, has increased pressure on club bosses to remodel their squad, and the sale of their leading scorer would fund such efforts.

Despite being named Rossoneri head coach just six months ago, Seedorf is likely to be replaced by his former teammate Pippo Inzaghi in the coming months.

Arsenal, meanwhile, have reportedly turned down the chance to sign their former skipper Cesc Fabregas. The Spain international has been offered to a clutch of Premier League clubs by Barcelona but the Gunners have decided not to utilise their buy-back option, with Chelsea now considered the midfielder's likely destination.