AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi revealed the club are willing to make “a financial sacrifice” to keep Mario Balotelli permanently, but wants to see an improvement from the player before doing so.
The 25-year-old striker has been restricted to only two Serie A starts in an injury-interrupted season having joined from Liverpool on a one-year loan deal last August.
But Berlusconi confirmed Milan are interested in keeping Balotelli at San Siro beyond this campaign, even though that may require a significant cash outlay.
“Will we sign him outright? It depends on him,” Berlusconi told Italia 7 Gold.
“He has extraordinary technical and physical qualities, especially if he can really show maturity in terms of his behaviour in his life and his position on the pitch – he does drift out to the wings too much.
“If he were to do these things we would be very happy to make a financial sacrifice and keep him here with us.”
Milan are on an impressive run of 10 matches without defeat in all competitions and Berlusconi has his sights set on Coppa Italia glory and Champions League qualification.
The former prime minister of Italy added: “It depends on how much the squad believes.
“We really want the Coppa Italia, it would give meaning to our season and allow us to return to Europe.
“The second objective is to finish third. In Naples [Monday’s 1-1 draw with Napoli] we saw that the players want to give their all. I think the Milan squad is good enough.
“We have had too many injuries this season, but we have quality players like [Jeremy] Menez, Balotelli and [Kevin-Prince] Boateng coming back, three champions Milan could not count on until now.”
Milan are back in action when they host Torino in Serie A on Saturday.