Southampton made favourites to sign Nice striker Mario Balotelli

Southampton's Argentinian manager Mauricio Pellegrino looks on before  the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United at Wembley Stadium in London,...

Southampton are believed to be in the market for a new striker in January.

Nice's Italian forward Mario Balotelli reacts during the French L1 football match Nice vs Marseille on October 01, 2017 at the 'Allianz Riviera' stadium in Nice, southeastern France.

Southampton have been made 6/1 favourites to sign Nice striker Mario Balotelli in January.

Bookmakers Sky Bet opened a market on the Italian's next club on Friday, and placed Saints on top of the pile ahead of Newcastle United (14/1).

Balotelli has been in fine form since his move to Nice 18 months ago, scoring 33 goals in 49 games for the Ligue 1 side.

With his contract due to expire in June, however, it is not inconceivable that the 27-year-old could leave the Cote d'Azur club this month - despite their president's insistence that his departure is 'impossible' and 'unimaginable'.

Southampton are believed to be in the market for a new centre forward, with Charlie Austin sidelined and both Manolo Gabbiadini and Shane Long lacking form.

Monaco's Argentinian forward Guido Carrillo celebrates after scoring a goal during the French L1 football match Monaco (ASM) versus Guingamp (EAG) on November 4, 2017 at The Louis II...

According to the Sun, Maurico Pellegrino's side offered £17.5 million for Gudio Carrillo - a striker based not too far from Nice, in Monaco - last week.

Former Southampton forward Leandre Griffit appeared to hint at Balotelli's arrival at St Mary's in December, posting the following cryptic message on Twitter.

Could Southampton bring the former Manchester City and Liverpool striker back to the Premier League?

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