Former Manchester City and Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli has been spotted in Marseille ahead of a reported move to the Europa League finalists. The 27-year-old has spent the last two seasons at Nice, scoring 43 goals in 66 appearances for the club, but has decided not to extend his stay at the side currently managed by Patrick Vieira.
Balotelli failed to attend the beginning of Nice's preseason, incurring the wrath of one of Nice's ultra groups as a result:
First of all, we want to remind Mario that the Nicois welcomed him to Nice as a child of the city and the club, that he has been loved, hailed and supported like nowhere else and without doubt more than ever since the start of his career. We totally accept that support and are therefore all the more disappointed, and we feel betrayed that he behaves this way towards a club and fans who have respected him and helped relaunch him.
In conclusion, Mario, when you are summoned for preseason, even if you know that perhaps you won't stay, you turn up on time and say goodbye politely. Instead of stealing away like a thief in the night. You have got it all wrong, Mario.
Football Italia had been reported that Balotelli had received a lucrative offer from a Chinese Super League club, worth €30 million a year, but it looks like the forward will prolong his sojourn in France instead.
Balotelli has recently been called up by Italy after a four year international exile, and will move to Marseille for a reported €10 million, a fee that Marseille already owe Nice. The forward will earn a reported €6 million at the Ligue 1 club.
Another player that may not be at Nice for much longer is Jean Michel Seri, the 26-year-old Ivorian has a £35 million release clause in his contract which expires on July 15. Chelsea and Fulham have been linked with the dynamic midfielder.
Despite being initially included in the squad for OGC Nice's pre-season trip to Divonne-les-Bains, Seri did not travel, after being given permission by the club to stay behind fuelling speculation about his future at the French side.