AC Milan are willing to go to £18 million for Manchester City defender Micah Richards.

The Sun says the defender, 24, was recommended to the Italian giants by former team-mate Mario Balotelli.

And Milan were ready to launch an £18million summer bid. But Richards, who has two years left on his current deal, wants to stay put at City after the axing of boss Roberto Mancini.

The pair had an uneasy relationship but City are ready to offer Richards a new £78,000-a-week contract before the start of pre-season training.