Berlusconi guarded on Balotelli future
AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi has not ruled out the sale of Mario Balotelli this summer, saying a decision will hinge on who is coach of his club next season.
After a disappointing conclusion to the season, with just one goal in his last seven appearances, the Italy forward has once again been linked with a move away from the Rossoneri, with Arsenal reportedly interested.
A return to the Premier League has been touted for the former Manchester City player while Napoli could reignite their interest after being beaten to his signature by Milan in 2013.
Berlusconi may be prepared to let Balotelli leave the Serie A side this summer due to his recent policy of selling the club's most valuable assets.
That decision has yet to be taken, although Berlusconi declined the chance to say he wants to keep the 24-year-old when pressed on the issue in Milan on Tuesday.
"We're still far from taking any decisions," he responded to reporters outside the hospital where Riccardo Montolivo underwent surgery on his broken leg.
"We're evaluating the possibility of signing new players, but let's wait until we have our new coach in place first."
That new coach is likely to be Filippo Inzaghi, although Berlusconi must first receive the consent of the club's board of directors for a substantial severance package for current boss Clarence Seedorf.
The Dutchman will be owed a reported 10 million euros if his two-year contract is terminated to allow the current youth-team coach to take the reins.
Should Balotelli stay, Berlusconi will suggest to whoever is in charge next season where to field the Italy international. "He's got to be forced to play as a centre-forward," Berlusconi added.
"One day when I was at Milanello (Milan's training ground), I asked to speak with Balotelli and he obliged. I asked him if he wanted to score more goals, and told him that he needs to get himself closer to the goalposts to do so."