Cue the celebration. Mario Balotelli is coming home.
The unpredictable Italian striker has reportedly agreed to leave Manchester City to join Italian powerhouse AC Milan on a four-and-a-half-year deal, according to Sky Sports journalist Rebecca Stephenson:
Mario Balotelli has agreed a 4.5yr deal with AC Milan, finalised tomorrow with medical. #mcfc— Rebecca Stephenson (@1rebs) January 29, 2013
Sky Sports News adds that Balotelli has agreed to stay on until 2017:
Sky Sports News HQ @SkySportsNewsHQ
Milan director Umberto Gandini has said transfer agreed for Mario Balotelli until 2017. Personal terms and medical talks tomorrow. #SSN1/29/2013, 4:23:08 PM
Balotelli wanted the move so badly that he was willing to take pay cut to make it happen, according to a report by SkySports.com. The transfer is reportedly worth £19.5 million, with £2.5 million of that coming in performance-related add-ons, according to The Sun.
The 22-year-old star will return to the Italy's Serie A for the first time since 2010, when he played for Inter Milan. The fresh start is much needed for the mercurial forward, who has created nearly as much controversy as offense over the course of his brief career.
Balotelli scored just one goal in 14 English Premier League appearances for Roberto Mancini's Manchester City squad in 2012-13, after scoring 19 goals in 40 EPL appearances during his two previous seasons with the Citizens.
The hope for AC Milan head coach Massimiliano Allegri is that Balotelli can help boost the club's attack and help pull Milan up the Italian Serie A table. They're currently fifth through 22 league matches.
He certainly has the potential to lift Milan the rest of the way this season and in the coming years as well. The only question is whether Balotelli will ratchet up his focus and cut out the unnecessary antics.
Balotelli's return to his home soil should at least provide him with a sense of calm and comfort. He's been given an excellent opportunity to revive his career and repair his image with one of the greatest clubs in Europe, and to waste it would be foolish.
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