On Wednesday it was reported by Italian news outlet Sport Mediaset that Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers had tabled a €22 million (£17.5m) offer for the controversial striker, who spent three years with Premier League outfit Manchester City.
Despite much speculation linking the striker with a move to Merseyside, AC Milan chief Adriano Galliani had stated that no official bid had been received, saying: "At the moment we have not received any offer from Liverpool for Balotelli. The transfer window is open until September 1."
However, Milan Channel - the Italian club's in-house TV station - confirmed on Thursday morning that talks are now ongoing with Liverpool regarding the "outright sale of Mario Balotelli", and an official club statement said the player is "involved in a negotiation."
Reports in Italy indicate a fee of €20m (£16m) has been agreed with Balotelli set to earn €6m (£4.8m) a year until 2018.
Just last month Rodgers said that the Reds would categorically not be signing the errant Italian, but he has now had a change of heart as Liverpool go in search for a much-needed striker following the departure of talisman Luis Suarez, with things moving on considerably on Wednesday night.
It appears Liverpool may have some stiff competition to sign Balotelli, with Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport claiming Arsenal and Chelsea should not be excluded in the battle to sign the 24-year-old.
The newspaper claims that Liverpool initially wanted to bring Balotelli in on loan, but the Serie A outfit will only let the striker leave on a permanent deal, which has put both the Gunners and the Blues on alert.
However, Liverpool could be at the front of the queue with reports they are meeting with Balotelli's agent, Mino Raiola, for talks in London.
Please let this be true. We'd love Mario to return to English football, even if he doesn't seem a natural fit for Liverpool's high-pressing, flowing style. He is wonderful value on and off the pitch and an accomplished headline-generator, as well as being a fantastic player. Liverpool appear to be in pole position but he would be a good addition for any of the three English clubs.
At Anfield, he could perform in a front two with Daniel Sturridge as a replacement for Luis Suarez; at Chelsea he could rotate with Diego Costa with Fernando Torres seemingly on his way out of the club; and at Arsenal he could be the potentially world-class centre-forward that Olivier Giroud will never be. With time running out on his Milan career, it seems the Premier League will benefit.
Still, it is Liverpool who are leading the chase and having lost one controversy-hungry striker, it would be fantastic to see another far more likeable one turn up on Merseyside. Rickie Lambert was a decent signing but no more than that, and after failing to recruit Loic Remy due to a failed medical, and with talks to sign Wilfried Bony seemingly leading nowhere, Balotelli would be a superb addition to the Liverpool attack.
Italy's Mario Balotelli (AFP)
THE VIEW FROM ITALY
Mattia Fontana, Eurosport Italy: As Silvio Berlusconi said a month ago, AC Milan have needed to sell him since the beginning of the summer window. Without the Champions League, they need almost 30m euros and Balotelli was the only man who could make them this kind of amount.
I believe there was something with Arsene Wenger and Arsenal during the World Cup, but his poor performances made Wenger change his mind. And now, if Liverpool will buy him (and I believe they will), they will pay not more than 22m euros, which is almost 10m less than what AC Milan could have earned from Arsenal.
AC Milan need Balotelli, but the Balotelli we’ve seen in his first six months after Manchester City. Not the one who played last season. Balotelli is always a mystery, because nobody knows how he will perform. And, at the moment, going back to the Premier League is a great gift for him.
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