AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi claims that Mario Balotelli was set for a €35 million move to an English club until the striker's poor World Cup caused the transfer to fall through.
The former Manchester City striker has been heavily linked with a return to the Premier League, with Arsenal keen to acquire the 23-year-old.
Milan made the decision at the end of last season to cash in on the forward after a below-par club campaign. However, Berlusconi says Balotelli's disappointing showings in Brazil halted a transfer – and cost him a significant windfall.
“Other than Italy, I’m the one who lost at the World Cup,” Berlusconi is reported to have said during a political meeting by Gazzetta dello Sport.
“I was selling Balotelli to an English team for millions, but, after this World Cup, who will buy him now?
“I was going to sell him to a top English club for €35m."
Balotelli scored against England during Italy's 2-1 win in Manaus but failed to find the back of the net against Costa Rica and Uruguay as the Azzurri were eliminated at the group stage.