By Gaia Brunelli
AC Milan are looking to offload defender Philippe Mexes to help finance a deal for Manchester City misfit Mario Balotelli during the January transfer window, Goal.com can reveal.
The English champions are holding out for a sum of £31.1 million for the forward, who has already put the wheels in motion as he prepares to leave the club.
That sum exceeds what the Rossoneri are willing to pay for the player, but club CEO Adriano Galliani is hoping to subsidise the transfer with the sale of Mexes.
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Roberto Mancini has remained adamant that the former Inter man would not be leaving the club in January, despite player and manager being involved in a training ground row at the start of the year.
And, although AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi claimed that Balotelli was a "rotten" apple and later apologised, the seven-time European champions have proposed a deal worth £25m, to be paid over six years, to bring him back to his homeland, as Goal.com revealed on Tuesday.
However, City are hoping for a better deal that would see his transfer fee paid over the course of three years.
The Rossoneri's audacious attempt to bring Kaka back to San Siro from Real Madrid fell through this week, but they remain hopeful of adding a big name to their squad this winter.
Should Mexes leave Milan, Galliani & Co. would look to bring in Davide Astori of Cagliari, but the Sardinian outfit are unlikely to want to sell the defender.
Their second-choice replacement is Chievo's Marco Andreolli, whose contract expires in the summer.