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Mancini eyeing replacement for Balotelli

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02 Feb 2013 08:47:20

Mancini eyeing replacement for Balotelli

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini expects to be able to replace Mario Balotelli in the summer.

The Italy international's departure to Milan has left City with just three senior frontline strikers in Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko but Mancini is not immediately concerned.

The Italian said: "When we had this chance, because Milan wanted him and he probably wanted to go back. For us, it was a good situation because in this moment we can start to work to find another solution for the summer. I think it was good for him and us."

Balotelli's future had been the subject of speculation throughout the January transfer window but Mancini consistently denied a sale was likely.

Even after a much-publicised training-ground bust-up earlier this month he vowed to give the unpredictable striker "another 100 chances".

Yet rumours linking the 22-year-old with boyhood club Milan refused to subside and after two-and-a-half controversy-filled years, City cashed in in a deal initially worth a reported £19million.

Balotelli showed flashes of his talent at the Etihad Stadium but remains some way off fulfilling his potential.

Despite his departure, Mancini's renowned confidence in the player has not wavered.

He said: "It's my own opinion that it went well for the first two years. Maybe not the last six months, maybe because he had big problems with injuries, maybe also because he wanted to go back to Italy. So for him to stay with his family would be better. He knows Italy, he knows football in Italy.

"I'm happy about the quality he showed here but I think he can do better because Mario has everything to become one of the best strikers in Europe. But if he wants to do this he needs to work hard, work more and maybe now he can continue to improve."


PA

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