Inter Milan have stated that if Mario Balotelli leaves Manchester City, they have first option to take him back to the San Siro, reports Sky Sports.

The 22-year-old striker has been heavily linked with a move away from the Etihad Stadium, after a turbulent few months with the Premier League champions.

Only last week, Balotelli was involved in a training ground bust-up with manager Roberto Mancini, fuelling speculation he would be sold during the January transfer window.

Inter have been linked with a bid to take him back to the club, but city rivals AC Milan are regarded as favourites, while Serie A champions Juventus are also believed to be monitoring the controversial Italian's situation.

However, Inter sporting director Piero Ausilio has stated that rival interest in Balotelli's signature is pointless, given that they have first refusal on him, thanks to a clause inserted when he was initially sold to Manchester City.

"The first refusal right exists," he told Italian magazine Panorama. "We will decide whether to exercise it or not at a time when City decides to sell."

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