Mario Balotelli was set for €35m Premier League transfer

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Mario Balotelli was seemingly set for a big-money move back to the Premier League prior to the World Cup, according to AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi.

Top-flight rivals Arsenal and Liverpool have both been routinely linked with the former Manchester City striker this summer and, as reported by The Daily Mail, Berlusconi has revealed that he was set to offload Balotelli back to England only to see the deal stall presumably as a result of Italy's disappointing campaign in Brazil.

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Deal stalled

"I was selling Balotelli to an English team for several millions, but, after this World Cup, who will buy him now?

"I was going to sell it to a top English club for 35 million [euros], then the deal has stalled," the 77-year-old was quoted by Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport.

Watch: The latest Arsenal transfer news

While Berlusconi does not appear to confirm or indeed even hint at the identity of the club who were on the verge of signing Balotelli, it would not be particularly surprising if it was later revealed to be either Arsenal or Liverpool.

Arsene Wenger's keen pursuit of a new striker is certainly no secret, with the experienced Frenchman clearly in rather dire need of ensuring that Olivier Giroud does not become too complacent with the chronic lack of competition for places in the final third at the Emirates Stadium.

Liverpool, meanwhile, boasted the most potent attack in the Premier League last season in the shape of Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez.

However, with the latter having been embroiled in yet another enduring controversy after appearing to once again resort to biting during Uruguay's decisive Group D clash against Balotelli's Italy in Natal last month, it seems likely that his exit from Anfield could happen very soon, with Barcelona believed to have tabled offers for his services.

A lucky escape?

Quite whether fans of those respective clubs would be happy to see Balotelli arrive could be subject to quite a heated debate.

Although the 23-year-old - who scored Italy's only goal of the World Cup in a 2-1 win over England - is clearly an enormously talented footballer, his rather persistent and unsavoury habit of attracting negative media attention for his off-field antics has generally become somewhat tiresome.

His previous stint with Manchester City means he has plenty of experience of the Premier League already under his belt, of course, but his time at the Etihad became renowned for a series of explosive fall-outs with compatriot Roberto Mancini.

Perhaps a more reserved and reasonable manager such as Wenger or indeed Brendan Rodgers could bring the best out of him and help him to mature sensibly in the longer-term? 

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Mario Balotelli
AC Milan

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