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 By Ian Holyman

Mario Balotelli won't leave on free transfer - Nice president

Mario Balotelli joined Nice from Liverpool in 2016.

Mario Balotelli will not leave Nice on a free transfer next summer, the French club's president has told RMC.

Balotelli's agent, Mino Raiola, said earlier this month that the former Manchester City and Inter Milan striker would be "a bargain" in June when his contract with Nice is due to expire.

Balotelli has scored a career-best 22 goals in 30 competitive outings this season, following on from a successful maiden campaign in France where he has rebuilt his reputation after falling foul of Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool.

A rejuvenated Balotelli will have no shortage of suitors when he becomes available, but after handing the forward a lifeline when he left Anfield, Nice are determined he will also bring them something should he depart.

"For Balotelli, we still haven't talked to Raiola. He won't leave for nothing, that's out of order [to have said that]!" Rivere said.

"We need to have a talk with Balotelli, the probability of him leaving is bigger [than him staying]."

Despite Rivere's warning, Nice will have no right to a transfer fee for Balotelli.

He is already free to discuss terms with any other club and will be entitled to move on a free transfer as of July 1 if he does not agree a new contract.

Ian is ESPN's French football correspondent. Twitter: @ian_holyman

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