Manchester City are ready to scupper Arsenal’s move for Barcelona striker David Villa after it was confirmed Mario Balotelli would be returning to Serie A.

Citizens boss Roberto Mancini confirmed on Tuesday night that the 22-year-old would be heading to AC Milan, with the deal likely to be completed at some point on Wednesday.

Now, according to The Mirror, the Premier League champions are eyeing up a bid for Villa, who has been consistently linked with a switch to the Gunners.

Arsene Wenger effectively admitted his desire to sign the Spain international on Tuesday when he claimed the Camp Nou club had no interest in selling.

However, there have been reports on Wednesday that the Emirates Stadium outfit will make a last-ditch attempt to lure Villa to north London.

Arsenal’s chances of signing Villa will be reduced significantly if Manchester City become involved in the transfer and it turns into a bidding war, as it will be a war they can only lose.

The report claims Mancini wants to take his quota of senior strikers back up to four after the departure of Balotelli and is ready to bid £15million for Villa.

City signed the controversy attracting forward for £22million from Inter Milan in 2010 and it has taken numerous incidents for Mancini to lose patience with him.

The pair had a training ground bust up in early January and the Mirror report claims this was the last straw for the Etihad Stadium hierarchy, prompting them to engineer his sale.

David Villa has international teammates at both clubs, with Santi Cazorla at Arsenal and David Silva starring for Manchester City.

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