AC Milan rule out Mario Balotelli swap deal
Silvio Berlusconi has no plans to sign Mario Balotelli from Manchester City
AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi has rubbished reports suggesting Alexandre Pato and Mario Balotelli could trade places in January, reports Sky Sports.
The former Italian prime minister has made no secret of his admiration for the troubled Manchester City striker, prompting a raft of speculation linking the former Inter Milan star with a move back to the San Siro.
Berlusconi would welcome the opportunity to sign Balotelli, but says that a swap-deal involving Milan's Brazilian forward Pato heading to the Etihad Stadium is just not possible.
"An exchange involving Pato and Balotelli? I don't like exchanges," he told Milan Channel. "Pato is definitely not on the market.
"He is one of our best players and has the opportunity to become an icon here over many years.
"Unfortunately, his frequent injuries have been a problem, but we just need to handle him right. AC Milan is the perfect setting for him."
Roberto Mancini's strained relationship with Balotelli has been well publicised, but the Manchester City manager has so far refrained from selling him.
However, the 22-year-old has seen his first-team opportunities limited over the past few weeks, with Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Edin Dzeko all ahead of the Italy international in the striker pecking order.
How long Balotelli will settle for a peripheral role, only time will tell. But a lack of Premier League action could see him pushing for a move away in January.