Mario Balotelli’s agent had discussions with Barnsley over a move to Oakwell but they have now cooled.

The 30-year-old former Manchester City and Liverpool striker, who has 36 caps for Italy, is a free agent after leaving hometown club Brescia following their relegation from Serie A. He played for French club OGC Nice when they were owned by Paul Conway and Chien Lee who are now the owners of Barnsley.

Conway and other Reds officials are understood to have spoken to Balotelli’s agent Mino Raiola as they looked to sign a free agent centre forward after missing out on a striker in the transfer window. But the negotiations did not go further than preliminary talks.

Balotelli would have been one of the most high-profile signings in Barnsley’s recent history. He won three Serie A titles and the Champions League with Inter Milan and led Italy to the 2012 European Championships finals in which he was named in the team of the tournament. He later won the Premier League with Manchester City while he is also known for his off-pitch antics and Jose Mourinho once called him ‘unmanageable.’

Reds head coach Valerien Ismael has said they will not sign a striker until the January transfer window.

Meanwhile, Barnsley’s third choice goalkeeper Corey Addai has joined Chesterfield for a month on loan.