Mario Balotelli could be headed back to Italy after a strong return to form at OGC Nice.
OGC Nice president Jean-Pierre Rivère has confirmed that striker Mario Balotelli will not leave the club on a free transfer this summer.
Rivère told RMC (via footmercato) that, while talks have not taken place with Balotelli or his representatives, the striker will not 'leaving for nothing' this summer.
Balotelli has been in fine form this season, and has enjoyed the best season of his career to date. The Italian striker has scored 22 goals in 30 appearances for Nice, who sit seventh in the Ligue 1 table, and has worked his way back into the reckoning for a starting spot in the Italian national team.
The 27-year-old was the focal point of much controversy, particularly during his time in England with Manchester City and Liverpool. However, the striker has now rebuilt his reputation by producing on the pitch in France. So much so, in fact, that he has been linked with a return to Italy with the likes of Juventus and Napoli reportedly interested.
"For Balotelli, we still haven't talked to Raiola," Nice president Rivère explained. "He won't leave for nothing, that's out of order [to have said that]!"
"We need to have a talk with Balotelli, the probability of him leaving is bigger [than him staying]."
This is a contrast to claims made by Balotelli's agent, Mino Raiola, earlier this month, who said his client would 'move for nothing' this summer.
"Mario is ready to come back [to Italy or England], Raiola told Rai Sport."He has matured and is one of the top 10 attackers to the world, and the number one Italian. He is worth €100m, but will move for nothing," the agent added.