If Chelsea still harbour a desire in signing Mario Balotelli from AC Milan then there’s only one man they need to sweet talk into agreeing a deal; Silvio Berlusconi.
The 77-year-old AC Milan owner is the man responsible for preventing Andrea Pirlo from linking up with the Blues in 2009 due to his iconic status at the San Siro.
Pirlo has revealed that he was close to a move, which would have linked him up with Carlo Ancelotti, but Berlusconi talked him out of it by applying emotional pressure to the Italian.
“Listen, Andrea, you just can't do this, damn it. You're the symbol of Milan, a standard bearer for this team, and we've already sold Kaka. You can't jump ship as well. It'd be a terrible blow, to our image as much as anything. We can't have everyone leaving,” Pirlo revealed Berlusconi had said in his autobiography.
Balotelli has to be considered a Milan icon at the moment due to his flamboyant personal nature, which is what makes him so popular with a large portion of fans.
It’s arguably more important than ever for Milan to try and keep Balotelli because of their struggles this season and that’s something the Milan owner would stress to the player should talk of any transfer away officially begin.
Milan are just inside the top half of the table, 39 points off the pace of current league leaders Juventus, the side that Pirlo currently represents. They’re not going to improve their immediate fortunes should they sell their best centre forward and that’s something Berlusconi will be aware of.
The £25 million rated striker could still be on Jose Mourinho’s wish list regardless of a reported deal for Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa.
Mourinho has been very blunt about his striker options at Stamford Bridge this season and with Samuel Eto’o unlikely to sign on, the need for a second high profile attacking addition this summer will increase.
Balotelli is a player he’s worked with before during his time at Inter Milan and a player that he’s got the best out of, which has proved difficult for some top flight European bosses.
Costa is always going to be the priority but if Mourinho wants a second chance to work with Balotelli, Berlusconi is the man he needs to convince not to get in the way of the deal.