Nice have announced Mario Balotelli will stay with the Ligue 1 side this season after a summer of exit speculation.
The Italian forward had looked set to move on this summer with his agent Mino Raiola and coach Patrick Vieira both hinting the 28-year-old was ready for a new challenge.
Marseille were linked with the forward, while last week L’Equipe claimed West Ham were following developments and could make a January move for him if the striker has not found a deal before then.
But Balotelli, who is serving a three-match ban, has performed a U-turn on his future and Nice’s statement suggested they were rather smug at the decision.
“The decision is taken, well thought through. Mario Balotelli has chosen to stay at OGC Nice. Well, there’s going to be a season 3 in the hit series. The agreement was endorsed by all parties on Monday night.” a Nice statement read.
“Made somewhat complicated at the beginning of the summer by another club in the south of France, the situation is back to normal. Simple, clear. Like a Supermario strike.”
— OGC Nice (@ogcnice) August 20, 2018
Balotelli has scored 33 goals in 46 league starts for the club and has 12 months remaining on his contract.
Nice president Jean-Pierre Rivere told L’Equipe that Marseille refused to stump up the required €4/5million for Balotelli.
“OM offered between zero and €2.5m but never more,” Rivere said.
“There was a meeting today [Monday] between the player’s agent, Mario and us,” Rivere added. “Mario told us he wanted to stay for another season at Nice. The decision was a common one. We’ve never forced Mario to stay.
“In his head, he’s 100 percent with us. Mario was supposedly their priority, but OM missed out on him for €1.5 million.”