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Jan 29, 2013

Mario Balotelli dealt to AC Milan

MILAN -- AC Milan says it has reached an agreement with Manchester City to sign Italian striker Mario Balotelli.

He will have a medical Wednesday and is then expected to sign a 4½-year deal through 2017.

Club director Umberto Gandini confirmed the agreement to The Associated Press, adding there will be no deal if Balotelli doesn't pass the medical.

The move ends a turbulent 2½ years in England for Balotelli.

Milan reportedly paid $27 million plus bonuses for Balotelli, who will be taking a pay cut to play for the club he has supported since childhood. Balotelli progressed through the ranks at Inter Milan before joining City in 2010.

"Transfer agreement for Balotelli signed with Manchester City. Medicals tomorrow in Milan, then personal terms until 2017 signing," Gandini also said via Twitter.

The 22-year-old striker's deal is worth 4 million euros ($5.3 million) per year through 2017, plus bonuses, according to a report in the Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport.

Balotelli, an Italian national, sent a text message to friends saying: "I'm coming," according to the newspaper.

Manchester City has made no comment, according to Press Association reports.

Sky Italia reported Monday that AC Milan made an official bid.

Balotelli cost $37.7 million when he signed from Inter Milan in August 2010, according to Press Association reports.

The deal puts an end to a remarkable 2 1/2-year stay with the Blues, during which time the forward attracted almost as many headlines for off-field incidents as success on it.

A member of City's starting line-up in the 2011 FA Cup final, when they ended a 35-year wait for a trophy, Balotelli also provided the crucial injury-time pass that set up Sergio Aguero for the dramatic Premier League title-winning goal at the Etihad Stadium in May.

But that momentous afternoon came just five weeks after manager Roberto Mancini had said Balotelli would never play for City again after the striker was sent off at Arsenal, having been lucky to avoid a red card earlier in the same game for a dreadful challenge on Alex Song.

Such lapses in professionalism have scarred Balotelli's time with the Blues.

There have been numerous training ground bust-ups; only recently he had to be separated from his manager after he lunged in on Scott Sinclair, while his petulant on-pitch behavior led to City imposing a fine which he threatened to challenge at a Premier League tribunal until finally backing down in December.

Through most of the controversy, Mancini stood by a player he has paid special attention to since they were together at Inter Milan.

And, until this season, Balotelli's contribution on the pitch has been enough to keep Mancini and the City supporters on his side.

However, after returning from Euro 2012 with his reputation enhanced by a series of impressive performances for Italy, most notably the semifinal win against Germany when he scored twice, he has made neglible impact on the Blues' title defense.

He has made just two substitute appearances since a dire performance against Manchester United at the beginning of December, when he was handed a surprise start, but did little of note before being substituted in the second half.

Information from The Associated Press and Press Association was used in this report.

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