Milan will this week offer Manchester City €20m (£17m) for Mario Balotelli as the Italian club finally make concrete their desire to bring the striker to San Siro.
The bid is less than City's £24m valuation though the English champions will note that Milan's intent to sign him is serious: the price is same amount Balotelli cost them from Internazionale in the summer of 2010.
Milan may yet be able to increase their offer by around €4m, which would meet City in the middle.
Another potential stumbling block is that Milan wish to pay any fee in six instalments. City, conscious of Uefa's financial fair play regulations, may want a lump sum that can be reinvested swiftly. However, there is hope at the Rossoneri that, given Balotelli's chequered time at City plus the player's desire to move, the transfer can be done.
Milan have already made one attempt to take Balotelli on loan rejected when Mino Raiola, the player's agent, met City's chief executive Ferran Soriano in Manchester earlier this month to suggest a temporary deal until the end of the season.
Milan's initial offer is expected to have been officially lodged no later than Monday. Raiola many fly from Italy to Manchester again with a view to helping Milan in negotiations which are expected to be extended but will have to be finished by Thursday, when the January transfer window closes.
Adriano Galliani, the Milan vice-president, has been in consultation with Raiola regarding the best way to proceed. Two years ago Raiola was pivotal in sealing the deal that took Zlatan Ibrahimovic, another of his players, from Barcelona to Milan.
On Saturday Galliani confirmed that Milan's interest in Real Madrid's Kaká and Didier Drogba, the former Chelsea striker, was over but hinted that a deal to sign Balotelli could yet occur. "Kaka and [Didier] Drogba are 101% not coming to Milan. Balotelli? He is 99.9 percent [not coming]," he said.
Last week it emerged that Balotelli's Cheshire home, which he rents, has been on the market since 11 January, a sign that the Italian was conscious of the need to keep his options open ahead of any potential move away from City.
Speaking on Friday Roberto Mancini chose his words carefully when asked if Balotelli might leave the club before 31 January. "No it is not true, Mario stays here. We didn't have any requests about Mario or other players," the City manager said.
At that stage Milan were yet to make an official offer, but once City receive their bid they will be keen to begin negotiations in earnest as even Mancini, who has been Balotelli's staunchest supporter at the club, now privately accepts his future lays elsewhere.