Jol "would be interested" in Man City's Balotelli

Jamie McDonald

Italian's triple-figure wages will prove a huge stumbling block, but the striker is known to want out of the Etihad.

The Daily Express believe Martin Jol is lining up a sensational move for Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli.

The Italian is known to want out of the Etihad Stadium after his latest spat with manager, Roberto Mancini, and is expected to leave the club in the January transfer window.

Balotelli is taking City to a tribunal after being fined 2 weeks' wages for his indiscipline last season and his act of retort has angered Mancini. The 22 year-old striker was already out of favour in Manchester and his latest actions will push him further towards the fringes.

Mancini's patience is also wearing thin and a move is expected to be completed as soon as possible.

And when Jol was prompted on the idea of taking a punt on the mercurial forward, the Dutchman was nonplussed but not evasive.

"He would probably cost more than the Mona Lisa but if I could get him for £7m I would be interested," said the Fulham boss.

Such a paltry figure is unlikely to be agreed but, also, is not impossible. Mancini is particularly eager to rid his side of Balotelli's negative influence and Europe's biggest clubs are thought to be put off by the player's indifferent form.

It means a move to a less reputable force could be on the cards but the one, vast stumbling block is the player's triple figure wages.

Fulham will not come close to Balotelli's current wage, even if the club were willing to break a stringent wage budget to allocate for Dimitar Berbatov, and the Italian is unlikely to accept a cut in salary.

Regardless of the deal's unlikelihood, there is little doubt of the 22 year-old's precocious ability. While we are known to be short in central midfield, a partnership of Balotelli and Berbatov up front will create its own stream of chances and allow the combative entities of Steve Sidwell and Mahamadou Diarra to do the clearing up.

And, if the unfathomable did come true, at £7 million, Jol could still splash the cash on an ever-weakening centre of the park.

But, as we know, it's all but a pipe dream. Fulham will have to survive, Balotelli-less.

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