Mario Balotelli might be out of contract at the end of the season but he will not leave Nice for free, claims club president Jean-Pierre Rivere.
Agent Mino Raiola has claimed that the Italy international forward would represent a “bargain” signing for any team, with numerous clubs in his homeland and the Premier League linked with a move for the attacker.
With Balotelli, 27, out of contract at the end of the campaign, it was considered that he could leave on a Bosman, yet Rivere claimed to RMC there is a “written deal” with the player’s entourage ensuring the club will get a fee.
Certainly, the prospect of the forward staying at the Allianz Riviera seems slim.
“It will be difficult to keep him,” Rivere said. “He has had two good seasons with us and has matured between the first and second. He’s a player who certainly wants to move on.
“The probability is more towards a departure than him staying, but we’ve not opened talks with Mario or his agent yet.”
Meanwhile, head coach Lucien Favre could also be on his way out, with a return to the Bundesliga mooted as a link with Borussia Dortmund persists.
“We know he’s very popular in Germany – and not only in Dortmund,” Rivere said.
Nice are currently fighting for a European spot in Ligue 1 and will host Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday.