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The 22-year-old has been the subject of interest from Serie A giants Inter and AC Milan in recent weeks, but the striker's current manager has insisted he will not be leaving

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has dismissed speculation linking Mario Balotelli with a move to Italy, insisting he is "very, very happy" with the striker.

The 22-year-old has been heavily linked with a return to Serie A after being involved in a bust-up with Roberto Mancini on January 3, and although AC Milan appeared to be frontrunners for the player's signature, their city rivals have now joined the race for the striker.

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Goal.com revealed in December that Milan were preparing a bid for Balotelli, but when asked about a possible departure Mancini was quick to deny any claims AC Milan could sign the striker in the January transfer window.

"No, it is not true. I am very, very happy [with Balotelli]," he told reporters.

Balotelli made his return for the first team in last weekend’s FA Cup win over Watford after missing the previous four due to illness.

Questions over a possible demotion were raised when the Italian turned out for the club’s Under-21s during the week – in which he scored twice – but Mancini insisted it was purely a matter of gaining fitness.

Mancini said: "He went with the Under-21s because he needed a game.

"After 40 days without a game, he needed one game. He trained well and I hope this year will be different."

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