Paris Saint-Germain prepare big-money Balotelli bid to tempt Manchester City

By Greg Stobart

Paris Saint-Germain are preparing a sensational January bid for Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli.

The 22-year-old has fallen out of favour at City in recent weeks, and has not started for the Etihad Stadium outfit since their disappointing 0-0 draw with West Ham at the start of November.

The striker was not part of City’s squad that hammered Aston Villa 5-0 on Saturday due to injury, and he hit the headlines last week after being left out of the squad for his side’s victory over Tottenham for having a poor attitude in training.

“I told him this was the reason – because he didn’t work well for three days,” said Mancini on Friday.

“I think Mario needs to work harder. If any player doesn’t work hard it is difficult that he can play at this level. What you do in training you do in the game, and every player needs to work hard to improve his performance in the training sessions. After that he can play well in the game.”

Goal.com understands that City manager Roberto Mancini is eager to keep his forward at the Etihad Stadium having consistently backed the controversial 22-year-old since his €29.5 million move to the club from Inter in 2010.

However, the French club’s billionaire Qatari owners are prepared to test the resolve of the Premier League champions as they look to bolster their strikeforce with a marquee signing in the New Year.

Despite wanting to keep Balotelli, Mancini is himself keen on bolstering his striking options in January, with Stevan Jovetic and Radamel Falcao having been targeted by the Italian. But, he has been told he must sell players before he can bring in more big names, with reports in Italy suggesting the forward wants to return to his homeland to be with his pregnant partner.

PSG, who are also tracking Falcao, made an enquiry for Balotelli after Euro 2012 but withdrew their interest after being quoted a staggering €49.9m for the Italian.

Manager Carlo Ancelotti is closely monitoring Balotelli’s situation as he looks to bring in support for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who completed a big-money move to the French capital from AC Milan during the summer.

Milan and city rivals Inter have also targeted Balotelli in recent months, but PSG’s owners, the Qatar Investment Authority, have the funds to outbid both clubs if City decide to sell the striker.

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Mancini: Balotelli must work harder

Mario Balotelli has been told by manager Roberto Mancini that he needs to up his game and perform better in training if he wants a starting place at Manchester City.

The enigmatic frontman was left out of the City squad last week as they ran out 2-1 winners over Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium.

Mancini and Balotelli have had a love-hate relationship in the past, with mixed results. But the Citizens boss has revealed that the Italian was dropped against Spurs because of poor performances in training.

“I told him this was the reason – because he didn’t work well for three days,” he told reporters.

“I think Mario needs to work harder. If any player doesn’t work hard it is difficult that he can play at this level.

“What you do in training you do in the game, and every player needs to work hard to improve his performance in the training sessions. After that he can play well in the game.”

The 21-year-old Italy international is yet to score in the league this season, but has scored in the Capital One Cup and netted a vital last-minute penalty against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League.

With crunch games on the horizon, Balotelli will be expecting minutes on the field, although there has been speculation in recent weeks that the striker could be on his way out of the club.

Balotelli's younger brother Enoch joins Salford City

Enoch Balotelli, the younger brother of Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli, has joined semi-professional outfit Salford City on a free transfer.

The 20-year-old signed for the mid-table Northern Premier League First Division side after failing to impress Stoke City, with whom he was on trial with last season.

Salford confirmed the move on Friday on the club’s official website, with the deal hinging on international clearance.

A statement read: “Salford City FC are pleased to announce the signing of Enoch Barwuah, younger brother of Manchester City star Mario Balotelli. The signing is subject to Enoch gaining international clearance, which should hopefully come through in the next couple of weeks.”

Salford chairman Darren Quick was understandably delighted with the deal to take Balotelli to Moor Lane.

He told BBC North West Sport: “He’s been training with us and he’s signed for us, subject to international clearance.

“It’s great for Salford. We hope he can play a few games for us and he can use it as a stepping stone to find a level more suited to him.”

And Quick is eager to view other impacts of the move, expecting it to generate more spectators through the gate, namely Mario Balotelli.

He continued: “I’ve not met him but I’m told he’s a really nice lad and a really good footballer.

“We play a decent standard of football but some lads don’t want to drop to that level.

“These things can work for both parties. We might get a few more through the gate, and maybe his brother might even come and watch us.”

Balotelli is not leaving Manchester City, insists agent

Mario Balotelli is to remain at Manchester City despite increased speculation linking the striker with a move away, according to the player’s agent.

Both AC Milan and Inter have been credited with interest in the Italy international in the past, with the former’s owner Silvio Berlusconi recently admitting he “liked the player”.

Balotelli, who was left out of the 18-man squad which faced Tottenham last weekend, was recently assured by manager Roberto Mancini that his future at Etihad Stadium is secure and his representative Mino Raiola supports the assertions.

“He feels really good at City,” Raiola told Mediaset.

“There is no crisis between Mario and City or between Mario and Mancini. What the papers write is garbage. Not being happy at being in the stands is completely different to wanting to leave.”

And Raiola continued to state his belief that Balotelli would remain at the club for the foreseeable future, with a move to Italy unfeasible.

“We plan to stay at City for at least another year-and-a-half. Even if we did decide to leave tomorrow, I don’t think there are any clubs in Italy that could sign him,” he concluded.

Balotelli is desperate to go home, says Evra

Mario Balotelli wants to leave Premier League champions Manchester City and return to his native Italy according to Manchester United adversary Patrice Evra.

The controversial 22-year-old’s future has been plunged into fresh doubt after Red Devils captain Evra hinted he would seek a return to his homeland after becoming wistful in England.

“Mario really misses Italy,” Evra told Italian TV.

“I don’t know if he will stay in Manchester, because he wants to return to his country. I am not his agent – I am only telling you how he feels.

“He is my rival in Manchester – I meet him a lot, I know him well. Off the pitch, we joke around and I take the micky out of him.”

City defensive coach Angelo Gregucci also refused to offer assurances on Balotelli’s City future saying he is “definitely sellable” but claims that the Azzurri star is ready to fight for his place at the club.

“Mancini has chosen to give him a signal, and it is his right to make choices,” he told Sky Sport Italia.

“Perhaps during the last week something was missing, but Mario is ready to take back the Manchester City shirt.

“Will he stay? It’s not up to me to say. I just know that he is definitely sellable. He has 22 years of talent and quality.

“He is a resource of our football club. He will give his contribution to the national team and to City.”