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English Premiership

Mancini gets his man

MANCHESTER, August 14 – Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini completed the signing of Italian striker Mario Balotelli from Inter Milan on Friday.Balotelli agreed a five-year contract with the Premier League club after flying into Manchester for a medical earlier in the day.

The 20-year-old was a long-term transfer target for Mancini, who worked with the player during his spell in charge at Inter, and it is believed he has cost City around 24 million pounds (29 million euros).

He is City’s fifth big-money signing since the end of last season, taking their spending to over 100 million pounds (121 million euros) after the arrivals of Jerome Boateng, David Silva, Yaya Toure and Aleksandar Kolarov.

"I think that Mario is one of the best players of his age in Europe and I am very happy to be working with him again," Mancini told City’s website.

"His style of play will suit the Premier League and City fans will enjoy watching him."

Balotelli will not be available to play in Saturday’s season opener at Tottenham, but Mancini is confident he has all the qualities needed to be a success.

"He is still so young there is a big chance for him to improve. He is a strong and exciting player," Mancini added.

Balotelli, who has Ghanaian parents, had endured a stormy spell at Inter.

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He fell out with former manager Jose Mourinho last season and was left out of the squad for a European tie against Chelsea.

He also angered fans of the European champions by allowing himself to be photographed in the shirt of their arch rivals AC Milan and was racially abused by Juventus fans during a match in 2009.

Despite all the controversy, Balotelli remains an incredibly gifted player, with pace, power and the ability to score spectacular goals.

While Balotelli has arrived at Eastlands in time for the new season, another of Mancini’s targets, Aston Villa midfielder James Milner, may not get his wish to join City until next week at the earliest.

Mancini’s club have been negotiating with Villa over England international Milner for several weeks and the Italian said: "We need another two or three days for this situation. We need everyone to be happy."

It is believed City are ready to sell midfielder Stephen Ireland to Villa as part of the deal but the Republic of Ireland international is still discussing a pay-off before agreeing to leave.

Mancini also admitted Wales striker Craig Bellamy’s time at Eastlands is over after accusing him of false statements to the media.

Bellamy has been fined after claiming Mancini was trying to force him out of Eastlands and had stopped speaking to him.

He will not be included in City’s 25-man squad for the coming season, with Fulham and Scottish club Celtic ready to fight it out for his services.

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"I have to choose 25. The rest must find another team. Craig is out of the list," Mancini said.

"Bellamy can talk but it is not important because it is false. Last year Craig played all the games with me. This year I have chosen other players. I am the manager. I make this choice."

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