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Football | Barclays Premier League

Platt denies Balotelli move and signings



Manchester City assistant manager David Platt insisted on Monday he knew nothing about reports temperamental striker Mario Balotelli was set to leave the Premier League champions.

And he also ruled out any emergency defensive signings for City in the final days of the transfer window, despite their injury problems at the back.

According to Italian media, Balotelli is poised to move to AC Milan, perhaps in a deal involving former Tottenham midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng.

However, Italian forward Balotelli whose rented luxury mansion has been advertised with estate agents since the beginning of the year, was at City on Monday amidst reports he had held a farewell party and handed out mementoes of his time at the club to friends.

"We've three days left before the (January transfer window) deadline, and I haven't heard anything," Platt, deputy to City manager Roberto Mancini said Monday. "It's a shame Robbie's (Mancini) not here because he might know a lot more than me.

"As far as we're concerned, he (Balotelli) is still a Manchester City player. I'm not aware of any negotations."

City paid Inter Milan £22 million for the Italy striker in August 2010, but his time at the club has been peppered with controversy both on and off the pitch.

And Mancini, who found himself in a training ground shoving match with the striker, was forced yet again last week to deny Balotelli was being sold.

Meanwhile City find themselves confronting problems at the back.

City captain Vincent Kompany, who limped out of FA Cup tie at Stoke City at the weekend, could be out of action for up to three weeks with a recurring calf injury that is causing concern at Eastlands.

And senior centre-half Kolo Toure is away on international duty with Ivory Coast at the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa, while Matija Nastasic, who would be first choice in league games, has a knee problem that kept him out of action at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday.

That leaves Joleon Lescott, the England international who has struggled to force his way into the side this season, as City's only fit senior central defender as they resume the pursuit of league leaders Manchester United.

But Platt insisted City, regarded as the wealthiest club in football thanks to their Abu Dhabi owners, will not move to bring in another defender before the transfer window closes.

"We've said before the market in January is very difficult," Platt said. "Even if you're planning to bring somebody in, it's very difficult to do so," he added ahead of Tuesday's match away to bottom of the table on QPR.

"Circumstances often dictate and have done in the past, like last year when Adam Johnson got injured a couple of days before the deadline," the former England midfielder recalled.

"You end up scratching your head and looking through everything to see if you can get a replacement.

"Vinny limped out of the game but he'll be back. With it being such a difficult market, you can't start stepping into it willy nilly and thinking: 'right, we've got to get somebody'.

"We're at Manchester City. It's a top club that competes for top trophies and as a result of that you can't just get anybody and think they are going to fill the gap that somebody leaves."

"That gap Vinny has left could be a fortnight, three weeks, who knows? We'll find out soon, but it's not a six-month gap, it's not something ridiculous that we feel we can't do with the squad that we've got available."

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