Mario Balotelli rejected clubs revealed, as OGC Nice explain dramatic transfer u-turn
Posted: 22 August 2018 Time: 12:00
OGC Nice have explained the surprising turn of events in which Mario Balotelli has decided to remain at the Ligue 1 side.
Balotelli, 28, was said to be on his way out of the French club after head coach Patrick Vieira confirmed his presence in the squad was unsettling his side.
Without European football, the Italy international was interested in leaving the club for 'sporting reasons'.
However, just a few days later, Nice announced on Twitter that the prolific forward has had a change of heart - which club president Jean-Pierre Rivere has since clarified.
"We have a player who has been courted, and contrary to what has been said, there have been some very big offers, notably from China and I have rarely seen such a contract for a player," Rivere told ESPN FC. "Mario turned it down straight away because he's interested in the sporting challenge.
"He was a little uncomfortable because Nice isn't playing in Europe because he's a competitor. He was approached by Marseille, and there were also one or two other clubs. Marseille worked a lot on the matter for quite some time. At the end, Mario decided to stay at Nice and we're very happy, we were looking for a No. 9.
Rivere went on to dismiss the claims made within French media which stated Les Aiglons refused to allow the player to move to their domestic rivals.
"What I know is that instead of offering €2.5m or nothing, I would have offered €4m, Mario would have left," he said.
"Because we had promised to keep our word. We wouldn't have fallen short there. But I'm not going to hide the fact that it suits us that he's staying with us.
"We have a coach who imposes his rules on his squad, Mario knows them. If he's not at 100 percent, there's no point in keeping him. It's he who expressed his wish to stay at Nice."