• Premier League

Mancini: We can't sell Balotelli

ESPN staff
January 25, 2013
Mario Balotelli is needed by Manchester City © PA Photos

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Roberto Mancini has denied Mario Balotelli will join AC Milan on loan for the rest of the season and said he has not received any offers for his players.

AC Milan are interested in taking the Italy international back to his homeland and vice-president Adriano Galliani has said that Manchester City's asking price of €37 million (£31 million) was too high.

They were reported to be trying to borrow Balotelli but Mancini has always insisted that his protege is not for sale and argued the striker could remain at City for the long term.

"We didn't have any requests about Mario or other players," Mancini said. "Mario has another three years on his contract. We don't have enough players. We [only have] 18 players now. We can't sell any players."

Balotelli has not started a game since December 9's Manchester derby defeat and is likely to be on the bench for Saturday's FA Cup tie away at Stoke.

City are waiting to discover if Samir Nasri, who has had a virus this week, will be in contention to start at the Britannia Stadium. "Samir is ill and we don't know if he can recover," Mancini added.

Mancini's men faced Stoke in the 2011 FA Cup final, when Yaya Toure's goal earned them their first trophy since 1976. The Italian said: "I have good memories. It was a fantastic moment to win a trophy after 35 years. It was important because we worked hard and it was good for the club and the supporters. A really good moment."

The Premier League champions have a fine home record against Stoke but have not won away at the Britannia Stadium since 1999.

"I think that every team that goes to the Britannia has a problem because Stoke are strong, physical but in the last two years we've played well, had chances to win and been unlucky.

"There the pitch is smaller than Etihad Stadium and they probably have another approach to the game, a different approach."

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