City deny Balotelli sale
4:36pm Monday 28th January 2013 in © Press Association 2014
Manchester City have again insisted Mario Balotelli is still their player despite yet more rumours linking the striker with AC Milan.
City have repeatedly denied the 22-year-old is poised to leave the Etihad Stadium throughout the January transfer window. Yet that has not stopped the speculation concerning the Italian, which has regularly been fuelled by senior figures at the San Siro.
The latest stories have suggested discussions between the clubs over a possible move before Thursday's deadline have begun and that the controversial Balotelli has already held a leaving party, but City assistant manager David Platt said: "I saw that speculation yesterday but I've not heard anything. I don't think anything is going to happen."
City manager Roberto Mancini has been highly dismissive of all the speculation, and Platt added: "It's a shame Robbie's not here. He might know more than me but as far as we are concerned I think he is still a Manchester City player."
When asked if he was aware of any negotiations between clubs or the player, Platt said: "I'm not. I can only go off what you know and I have seen. I know exactly the same as you, which is speculation."
Platt was also unsure whether City would be making any moves into the transfer market this week. City do have defensive problems with captain Vincent Kompany injured and Kolo Toure at the African Nations Cup but that is only a short-term issue.
Platt said: "Fortunately we'll have a press conference on Friday and we won't have to talk about speculation - and that is what it is. I literally don't know anything.
"We have said before the market in January is very difficult. Even if you are planning to get somebody in it is very difficult to do so. With it being such a difficult market, you can't start stepping into it willy-nilly.
"We are at Manchester City - a top club that competes for top trophies. As a result of that you can't just go out and get anybody and think they are going to fill the gap that somebody leaves.
"That gap Vinny has left could be a fortnight, it could be three weeks. It is not a six-month gap, something ridiculous we feel we can't do with the squad we have available."