Mario Balotelli Reportedly Drawing Serious Interest from AC Milan

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistJanuary 28, 2013

AC Milan are attempting to land Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli before the mid-season window closes, according to Sky Sports (via Sky Italia).

Sky Italia: AC Milan in talks to sign Mario Balotelli #SSN

— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 28, 2013

UPDATE: Monday, Jan. 28, at 12:37 a.m. ET by Tom Kinslow

Despite the rumors that the Italian giants were in on the mercurial striker, both Manchester City and AC Milan have denied reports surrounding a possible deal in the final days of the transfer window, according to the BBC.

Manchester City assistant manager David Platt has said Mario Balotelli will not be moving to AC Milan this month, despite reports in the Italian media suggesting negotiations were under way.

"I don't think anything is going to happen," said Platt of a proposed January move involving the striker.

AC Milan's spokesman, Riccardo Coli, described stories linking the club with the 22-year-old as "only rumours"

---End of update---

The Balotelli saga has been ongoing for quite some time, but this report seems to represent the most progress that's been made during the January window. The link between the Italian star and AC Milan began to pick up steam over the weekend.

The 22-year-old attacking sensation has found the net just once in 14 Premier League appearances this season for the Citizens, which only adds fuel to the transfer fire.

City have plenty of depth up front. Edin Dzeko, Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez have all been productive members of the attack during the season's first half, leaving the unproductive Balotelli to pick up the scraps in terms of playing time.

He would likely play a more prominent role with the Rossoneri, who currently sit in fifth place in Serie A. That's one spot behind rival Inter Milan, where Balotelli spent three seasons before making a high-profile move to Man City.

A move back to Italy wouldn't remove any of the pressure from Balotelli's shoulders. He would still be expected to progress toward his immense potential. But a change of scenery certainly couldn't hurt after struggling mightily in recent months.

The biggest obstacle right now is time. The winter window closes in a matter of days, which means City and AC Milan would have to work through all the details at a rapid pace in order to get everything in place in time.

As longtime football fans know, these type of negotiations rarely go off without a hitch. So there's no guarantees even though the Rossoneri have apparently begun talks to close the deal.

Regardless of the outcome, it definitely provides the transfer window with some much-needed late intrigue after a pretty lackluster month of moves.