Despite assurances from David Platt on Monday, overnight reports suggest that Mario Balotelli is headed for the Manchester City scrap heap.
AC Milan and Juventus are both in negotiations with the English champions over the transfer of Italian international Balotelli to the Serie A.
Balotelli’s agent Mino Raiola was responsible for taking Zlatan Ibrahimovic from Barcelona to Milan, and he is thought to have the inside lane regarding the transfer of yet another volatile hit-man to the San Siro.
However, the chance of getting Super Mario on loan for the rest of the season has also proved too tempting to resist for The Old Lady, as they seek to augment their less than convincing lead atop the Serie A standings.
It is understood that City would prefer to sell Balotelli outright in January, and are likely to accept slightly less than the £19.75million they want for the 22-year-old.
But it is also possible that the erratic marksman will be shipped out on a loan to buy arrangement.
City continue to insist that Balotelli is firmly ensconced at the Etihad, and even suggest that he is in contention to play against QPR on Tuesday night.
However, the British football media believe that Balotelli has expressed his desire to leave, and that he has in all likelihood played his last game for the team he helped become champions with a pivotal last-gasp assist last season.
Should Balotelli leave, City would be left with only Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Edin Dzeko as front-line strikers, and speculation will begin as to who they will try to by before the transfer window closes on Thursday night.
However, the consenses is that manager Roberto Mancini has already committed to a single striker formation for next season, and so three top strikers may well be enough.