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Jan 28, 2013

City denies Mario Balotelli rumors

Manchester City on Monday continued to pour cold water on speculation that striker Mario Balotelli will leave the club for AC Milan.

Sky Italia reported Monday that AC Milan has made an official bid for Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli.

According to Sky, Milan has offered 24 million euros ($32.2 million), which would be paid in six installments for the duration of the proposed 4½-year contract.

City manager Roberto Mancini has consistently said his fellow Italian is not for sale throughout this month's transfer window but that has not quashed rumours linking him with the San Siro giants.

Milan has made its liking for the 22-year-old clear but has previously balked at City's reported 28-million-pound ($43.9 million) valuation.

Reports emerged Monday claiming ongoing negotiations between the clubs, but City's public message on the matter has not changed.

First-team coach David Platt said: "I saw that speculation yesterday but I've not heard anything. As far as we are concerned I think he is still a Manchester City player I don't think there is anything is going to happen."

Platt was also unsure whether City would be making any moves into the transfer market this week.

City do have defensive problems with captain Vincent Kompany injured and Kolo Toure at the African Nations Cup, but that is only a short-term issue.

"Fortunately we'll have a press conference on Friday and we won't have to talk about speculation -- and that is what it is. I literally don't know anything," Platt said. "We have said before the market in January is very difficult. Even if you are planning to get somebody in it is very difficult to do so. With it being such a difficult market, you can't start stepping into it willy-nilly.

"We are at Manchester City -- a top club that competes for top trophies. As a result of that you can't just go out and get anybody and think they are going to fill the gap that somebody leaves. That gap Vinny has left could be a fortnight, it could be three weeks. It is not a six-month gap, something ridiculous we feel we can't do with the squad we have available."

Kompany limped off in the first half of Saturday's FA Cup fourth-round win at Stoke after suffering a calf strain, a problem that has blighted the 26-year-old in the past.

He has definitely been ruled out of the Premier League game at Loftus Road and is also doubtful for Sunday's home clash with Liverpool.

"My experience of calf strains would be no chance for tomorrow, Liverpool a big doubt with an outside chance, but that would depend on the gravity of it," Platt said. "In all honesty you're probably looking at the game after that being a potential realistic target."

City's choices at center back could be further limited if Matija Nastasic, who missed the game at Stoke, does not overcome a minor knee problem.

Teenager Karim Rekik, who was an unused substitute at the weekend, is a potential option to play alongside Joleon Lescott while midfielders Javi Garcia and Jack Rodwell could be used as stop-gap measures. Alternatively, City could again deploy a three-man back line.

Information from Press Association was used in this report.

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