With Italy’s World Cup exit and AC Milan Vice President Barbara Berlusconi’s assertion that no player is “irreplaceable”, the wait for Mario Balotelli’s much-anticipated transfer to Arsenal seemed to be drawing to a close.

Except, as it turns out, Arsene Wenger was never interested in Balotelli.

When asked about the striker, the Arsenal manager described the story as “pure invention”, saying “we cannot believe absolutely everything that is on the internet or in the papers.”

With these comments, Wenger could obviously be hiding his genuine interest from the media. But by the same token, the manager has not publicly expressed any sentiment to fuel the speculation.

Regardless, the need for a new striker at the Emirates remains. And with the World Cup ongoing, there is plenty of attacking talent on show for Wenger to consider.

Balotelli may never have been a target. But in any case, here are SIX World Cup alternatives to the Italian for Arsenal to consider.

Click on Karim Benzema to start

Karim Benzema (France):

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