It looks like Mario Balotelli is heading back to Italy. Manchester City have reached a £20 million deal with Serie A side AC Milan for the polarizing striker, according to Goal.com.
Balotelli's future has been one of the biggest stories of the January transfer window. His lack of production and limited playing time with the defending Premier League champions made him a prime transfer target.
AC Milan is apparently the winner of the sweepstakes, beating the midseason window clock by only a few days. The 22-year-old forward figures to be featured more prominently with his new club, which currently sits in fifth place in Serie A.
Balotelli previously spent three seasons with Inter Milan. He scored 17 goals in league play over his final two seasons with the Nerazzurri before heading to the Premier League.
He was an expendable piece for City due to the team's terrific attacking depth. Edin Dzeko, Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez have all scored at least seven goals in the league while providing far more consistent play than Balotelli.
The Italy international is a supremely talented player with tremendous upside, but his ever-changing attitude and disciplinary issues are holding him back. City clearly felt they could live without him despite the obvious potential.
Moving back to Serie A is a twofold situation for Balotelli. Most importantly, it allows him to get another fresh start after falling out of favour with the Citizens. But it should also serve as a wake-up call.
Clubs are always going to give a player that can boost an attack a chance, even if there are question marks surrounding his past. But in order to become a force in one of Europe's top leagues, he must focus on football and let that speak for itself.
Balotelli is being given a golden opportunity to shine in his home country. He can't let it slip away.