AC Milan start negotiations to sign Man City striker Mario Balotelli (Gazzetta dello Sport)

Gazzetta dello Sport have revealed in the past hour that AC Milan have begun their assault on signing Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli in the January transfer window.

Speculation is rife in both Spain and Italy that the Rossoneri are preparing to bring in Kaka on loan for the rest of the season following his dinner with Robinho in Milan last night.

And, AC Milan, who have had a poor start to the first half of the season by their standards, after selling Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the summer, are understood to have begun negotiations with Mario Balotelli’s agent.

Mino Raiola, who represents the Manchester City hitman, met with AC Milan vice president Adriano Galliani today, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

This comes just days after AC Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi apologised for calling Balotelli “a rotten apple” – a move which was interpreted in Italy as paving the way for the Rossoneri to move for Super Mario.

Balotelli has endured a poor campaign at the Etihad following his heroics for Italy at Euro 2012. Manchester City fans would likely be split on losing a cult hero but Roberto Mancini could well have lost patience with the striker.

Just two weeks ago, Mancini and Balotelli were involved in a training ground brawl and the return of John Guidetti to full fitness could see City loan their controversial striker or even sell him, if AC Milan stump up the cash.

It seems undoubtedly clear, as we head into the second half of the January 2013 transfer window, that Mario Balotelli may be one of the big-name players constantly linked with a move from the Etihad.

Mario Balotelli’s most recent goals, a brace for the Manchester City Under-21 side against Blackburn, are on the video below.