Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini expects to sign Inter striker Mario Balotelli “today or tomorrow” and confirmed that a deal for Aston Villa midfielder, James Milner, was also in the pipeline.
Balotelli has been a target for City’s radar all summer and the forward flew into Manchester to undergo a medical on Friday, a day after it looked as though the deal may have stalled.
But after talks between the two clubs on Thursday, the negotiations advanced and the Italian striker now looks set to move to the Premier League in a deal Gazzetta dello Sport reports is worth €28 million.
“We are close with Balotelli,” Mancini told a press conference on Friday morning. “Hopefully today or tomorrow. Mario is on his way here today.”
Balotelli’s agent Mino Raiola believes a deal could go through on Friday.
“Today, there was a step forwards, I can confirm that,” Raiola told Sky Italia.
“So I am very confident about closing the deal soon but it doesn’t just depend on me.
“Will he play on Saturday against Tottenham? Look, at this point I would say no. Even if we close the deal tomorrow he wouldn’t be able to do it, because of all the paperwork.
“Then the English laws impose details that would exclude his presence as early as Saturday.
“I am very optimistic, but today the deal is not already done.
Mancini also said James Milner was close to joining, although they are still sorting out the details of the deal.
“We need another two or three days for this situation,” he said. “We need everyone to be happy.”
It is reported that the Milner deal is being held up because Stephen Ireland – who is due to be part of a part-exchange deal – is demanding a £2 million pay-off.
Asked whether that was the case, Mancini replied: “I don’t know about that. Everything must be in a good way for everybody.”
Mancini confirmed that Craig Bellamy, who is attracting interest from Fulham, Tottenham, Sunderland and Celtic, was not in his final squad of 25.
“I have to choose 25,” Mancini said. “The rest must find another team. Craig is out of the list.”
Mancini also revealed that the arivals of Balotelli and Milner represent the final deals of the summer. “After these two players – finished,” Mancini said.