Former Liverpool and Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli is set to join Serie B side AC Monza on a short-term deal, which the club's CEO has described as his 'last chance'.
The 30-year-old striker has been a free agent since his contract with Brescia was rescinded during the summer amid allegations of ill-discipline.
According to Sky Sports, Balotelli will undergo a medical on Monday ahead of a deal that will see him join Monza until the end of the 2020/21 season.
Monza, who based north-east of Milan, were promoted to Serie B after the 2019/20 season was cut short at the height of the pandemic.
The club were bought by 83-year-old former AC Milan owner and Italian prime minster Silvio Berlusconi in 2018, who is dreaming of taking the club all the way to Serie A.
Balotelli - who was also linked with Vasco de Gama and Barnsley - will be Monza's most high-profile acquisition yet, trumping the deal to sign ex-Tottenham and Barcelona star Kevin-Prince Boateng back in September.
Monza's chief executive Adriano Galliani, who previously worked with Balotelli at AC Milan, spoke of the striker's imminent arrival, which he described as a 'last chance'.
“I gave him a proper talking to, and told him this is truly the last, absolutely last, completely the last chance,” Galliani said, via Gazzetta dello Sport.
“I love Mario, he’s a player with the kind of technical and physical qualities that should’ve allowed him do so much more with his career.
“There were flashes of exceptional quality and I can’t understand why he can’t get even better. After all, he is only 30 years old.”
Berlusconi once famously described Balotelli as a 'rotten apple', though Galliani insists there is no bad blood between the boss and his new signing.
Galliani said: “The president is enthusiastic, he gave me the all-clear, I passed Mario over to him on the phone and they had a talk.
“The boy treated these talks like a friend. He accepted a lower salary with some variables that are based on performance, appearances and promotion into Serie A.
“His agent Mino Raiola also took no commission. Mario gave up a very important contract he could’ve had in Rio de Janeiro with Vasco da Gama."
Premier League winner Balotelli shone in his first spell at Milan between 2012 and 2014, scoring 30 goals in 54 appearances for the Rossoneri. However, when he returned on loan in 2015/16, it was a different story and he managed just three goals in 23 outings.
Since then he has turned out for Nice, Marseille and Brescia. While he has continued to score goals stories of off-field issues continue to plague his career.