One of the leading side notes of the summer transfer window has been Arsenal’s apparent attempts to sign AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli.
The former Manchester City forward’s controversies and mercurial streak are well-known, but at just 23 years of age and clearly possessing world-class quality, he remains one of the most impressive front-men in world football. At the same time, if the Gunners are to effectively challenge for the Premier League title next season, acquiring the services of a high-quality centre-forward is a transfer must this summer.
Recent speculation however suggests a move could be off, with the San Siro side claiming with ‘99.9%’ certainty that the Italian will stay with the Rossoneri next season.
But we at Football Fancast think the north Londoners would be mad to pass up on such an impressive individual, and with that in mind, here’s a list of FIVE reasons Arsenal NEED to sign Balotelli.
— Saad Aldulijan (@SaadAldulijan) December 16, 2013
The idea of Arsenal needing a maverick figure first surfaced last summer when the north London club launched an ill-fated £40million-plus-a-quid-bid for then-Liverpool’s Luis Suarez.
The Uruguayan cannibal was seen as an ideal candidate to add some clinical nastiness to the Gunners’ collective mentality, whilst his ability to pull off the unimaginable, in turn, would be an inspiration for those around him.
Well, Mario Balotelli would certainly be an effective alternative. He too is a rather feisty character…
Who also has a knack of conjuring moments of individual world-class magic:
Of course, whilst Suarez’s flesh-lust is justified by his consistent potency, the same can’t always be said for the Italy international, who is often just pure crazy:
But if Balotelli’s talismanic quality and unpredictability can add a new sense of ruthlessness to the Gunners, he will make them genuine title contenders.
Then again. He might just be too insane…
Amazing story! Why always me? Balotelli completes his Panini sticker album with pics of himself and posts a picture pic.twitter.com/GRia3fXX1z
— Rob Jones (@msnsportrob) June 17, 2014
Only a psychopath would have that many stickers of himself!
For a striker of such world-wide recognition, Mario Balotelli is not as prolific as he’s often assumed to be. Rather surprisingly, the 23 year-old is yet to reach the twenty-goal mark for all competitions during any of his six seasons as a senior player.
But the Azzurri star’s ability to score important goals, or at least play a significant part in them, against high-quality opponents cannot be overstated. I’m sure we all remember his integral role in this historic strike for Manchester City:
Or this effort against Germany at Euro 2012:
Juventus, Manchester United, Chelsea, Borussia Dortmund, Udinese, Napoli, Germany, Brazil, England – Balotelli has netted past them all, including this header against the Three Lions at the World Cup:
Compare that to Olivier Giroud, who is yet to get on the scoresheet against Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea since arriving the Premier League two summers ago, it’s easy to see why Balotelli would become an important player for Arsenal.
Interest in Mario Balotelli isn’t as high as the AC Milan star would like to think. PSG, Monaco, Chelsea Bayern Munich and Barcelona have all invested in new front-men over the last two summers yet none have turned to the Italy international.
That being said, there’s no doubt securing the 23 year-old’s signature would make a major statement of Arsene Wenger’s intentions in the transfer market.
After all, he is a world-class striker, that since the departure of Robin van Persie in summer 2012 has been the glass ceiling between the Gunners and the Premier League title. Just take a look at his Top Ten goals:
Likewise, Balotelli is a huge name, renowned around the world for his quality, and that alone will significantly improve the north London side’s transfer clout.
Following the signing of Mesut Ozil last summer and Alexis Sanchez in the current window, the striker’s north London arrival will undoubtedly confirm that Arsenal are once again amongst the European elite when it comes to attracting the world’s top talents.
Arsene Wenger is a manager who refuses to be cornered when it comes to transfers. He, more than any top Premier League manager, has shown a continual restraint in signing the right players for the right price, even if Arsenal squad’s is left short in certain departments for a few seasons.
But few can dispute that the Gunners desperately need added netting prowess, this startling statistic says it all:
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) July 10, 2014
And a quick look at the Premier League’s top goal-scorers:
Just one player in the top 15 is not good enough for a club that’s meant to be challenging for the title. Likewise, the number of top strikers potentially available to Arsenal this summer is exceptionally slim.
Robert Lewandowski, Diego Costa and Luis Suarez have already joined Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Chelsea respectively this transfer window, whilst Radamel Falcao and Edinson Cavani made their big-money moves to Ligue 1 last summer, along with previous Emirates target Gonzalo Higuain, who moved to Napoli instead.
Even hotly-tipped Gunners target Mario Mandzukic – formerly of the Bavarians – has already made his move to Atletico Madrid this summer:
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) July 10, 2014
Through necessity rather than design, the Gunners have little option but to turn to Balotelli this summer, or else spend another season without a top-class front-man.
For a striker of such established quality and world-wide recognition, recent speculation suggests Mario Balotelli could be available to Arsenal for exceptionally cheap this summer:
AC Milan chief refuses to be drawn on Arsenal’s £25m swoop for Mario Balotelli http://t.co/u0ygOHyPko
— ⚽Crazy About EPL⚽ (@CrazyAboutEPL) July 21, 2014
AC Milan drop asking price for Balotelli to £14.5m to entice Liverpool to rekindle interest!? http://t.co/dsET9F4F1C
— LFC Boston (@LFCBoston) July 15, 2014
— Metro Sport (@Metro_Sport) July 25, 2014
The price-tag appears to be dropping all the time, and in my opinion, anything under £20million is a sensational steal, considering Balotelli has already proved his worth in the Premier League after netting 20 goals in 54 league appearances at Manchester City.
Wenger has understandably refused to spend big on risky striking acquisitions before, but the Italy international represents fantastic value for money.
His alleged wage demands however, aren’t quite so justifiable:
— FootballFanCast.com (@FootballFanCast) July 22, 2014