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Mario Balotelli holds talks with Serie C side Como – whose owner is worth £14bn

The chief executive of Serie C side Como has revealed the club has held talks with Mario Balotelli over a sensational summer move.

Como finished 13th in group A of Serie C this season but are backed by owner Robert Budi Hartono, a Chinese Indonesian billionaire with an estimated net worth of around $18billion (£14bn). 

Hartono has grand plans to bring Como back to the summit of Italian football and has now set his sights on Balotelli to guide them up the football pyramid.

The former Manchester City and Liverpool striker will leave hometown club Brescia this summer after a disastrous season back in Serie A. 

And it seems his next move could see him drop down two divisions to play in Serie C.

Como chief executive Michael Gandler, who was Inter Milan’s chief revenue officer between 2015 and 2018, has admitted the club has held transfer talks with Balotelli but ‘can’t say any more than that’. 

‘There’s been some contact between the two parties,’ he told La Provincia di Como, as cited by Football Italia.

‘His representatives sat down to listen to us. I can’t say any more than that.’

It is clear the Como ownership has lofty plans for the cub and have set their sights on a return to Serie A. The club have not been in the top flight since they were relegated in 2002-03. 

‘Serie A is definitely the goal,’ Gandler told Football Italia in an interview in May.

‘However, it’s not an ownership group that’s just going to throw money at the problem. The business philosophy is that we don’t buy value, we create value. Spending a bunch of money on players isn’t creating value.

‘That’s why when you look at our initial investments, they’re focused on things like facilities, infrastructure and staff.

‘We’re probably the only club that spends less than 50 per cent of our budget on players. Most of them are probably 80 to 90 per cent.’

It could be a promising opportunity for Balotelli, who will once again be searching for a club in the coming months.

Balotelli signed for Brescia on a free last summer after leaving French side Marseille but has been at the centre of a very public spat with owner Massimo Cellino.

Both parties are reportedly taking legal action against each other over a variety of controversies since the coronavirus lockdown was lifted.

Balotelli’s outspoken agent, Mino Raiola, angered Cellino after claiming the club had discriminated against the player by not testing him for coronavirus, which the striker insisted was true. 

Brescia then hit back by claiming that the accusations were slanderous and false.  

Balotelli has scored just five goals in 19 appearances this season. Brescia’s relegation from Serie A was confirmed after a 3-1 defeat away at fellow strugglers Lecce on Wednesday night.

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