Rumors have recently linked AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli with a move to Arsenal in the January transfer window. The Gunners, in need of an additional striker to support Olivier Giroud, are reportedly interested in the Italian striker. Balotelli has definitely got the talent to help the Gunners, but signing him would be a huge gamble.
With Nicklas Bendtner as the only out and out striker to replace Giroud should the French striker get injured or suspended, Arsenal is indeed in need of a new striker.Using Lukas Podolski upfront could be a good option for Arsene Wenger but the German is primarily a winger.
Signing Balotelli would give Wenger another option upfront and more tactical flexibility, but the former Manchester City striker would not be eligible to play in the Champions League, having already played it with Milan this season. Knowing that Balotelli will not be sold for less than 20 million pounds, it would really be a waste to pay that much money for a striker and be able to use him only in domestic competitions.
Despite his immense talent, Balotelli hasn’t quite lived up to the expectations yet. The Italian striker is known for his inconsistency and is typically the player a manager shouldn’t rely on. In a good day, the former City player can win any game like he did for Italy against Germany at the Euro 2012, but has also been very disappointing at times. Between August and December 2012, Balotelli scored only one goal in fourteen Premier League games for City. In that same period, he even received more yellow cards than he scored goals.
Any club that signs Balotelli will have to deal with his attitude on and off the field. The Italian striker has been repeatedly suspended for yellow and red cards but also by his different clubs for incidents like not respecting curfews, reporting late to training and many other infringements. Inter Milan and Manchester City, his last two clubs before AC Milan decided to let him go after his repeated blunders had damaged the image of the club. Balotelli’s fight with his former manager at Manchester City Roberto Mancini last season is still in the memories of many people and shows how difficult it can be to manage Balotelli.
Mario Balotelli is one of the most talented forwards in the world and has got an ability to influence games that only a few players have. However, the Italian international has serious discipline problems which makes him a risky signing. With him, you never know what you are going to get. However, should Arsene Wenger sign him and resolve his discipline issues, Arsenal would then be very hard to stop.
Malamine Sane is a soccer writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on twitter @malamino