Mario Balotelli has 'found level' as he prepares to extend Nice stay - Cassano

Former Italy forward Antonio Cassano said he believes Mario Balotelli has "found his level" at Nice as the Ligue 1 club prepare to extend the former Manchester City forward's stay.

Balotelli signed a one-year deal when he joined last summer, with his 15 goals in 23 games helping the club to an unexpected third-placed finish.

He is expected to sign a new two-year contract in the coming days, and president Jean-Pierre Rivere told RMC he could take a pay cut to stay.

"On this matter, I can tell you two or three things," Rivere said.

"The first is that you have a player who wants to come to Nice. Two, he is ready to make an effort financially. And three, we're working on it."

Balotelli's former Italy teammate Cassano, meanwhile, told Sky Sport Italia: "Mario's had a good career, and his luck has been having Mino Raiola as his agent because he earns his clients a lot of money.

"He's found his level at Nice."

Cassano has been linked with Crotone and said: "Looking at Serie A now, you'd have a big struggle finding any decent players. So many of them who are overrated.

"I'm convinced that, even after a year out, I can make the difference. It's a very strong conviction I have. I'm the best around in Italy -- it doesn't take much to understand that."

ESPN FC's France correspondent Ian Holyman contributed to this report.