Arsenal are closing in on the signing of Italy international Mario Balotelli, with representatives trying to piece together a £20 million deal ahead of Saturday’s World Cup match between the AC Milan striker’s national team and England.
The 23-year-old has been made available for transfer by the Serie A giants, despite scoring 30 goals in 54 appearances, and the Gunners are leading Liverpool in the chase to sign their top summer transfer target, according to the Daily Mail.
Balotelli, who spent two-and-a-half seasons in the Premier League with Manchester City before joining Milan in January 2013, reportedly prefers the idea of a move to London over Merseyside.
And it’s been confirmed by sources close to Arsenal, the Daily Mail claim, that Arsenal are moving ever closer to bringing the controversial Italian back to England. The striker regularly made the front and back-page of Britain’s national newspapers for his bizarre antics - both on and off the pitch.
But despite his bad boy reputation, Balotelli is still widely regarded as one of Europe’s most promising strikers. Certainly, his goalscoring record has improved since moving to Italy, while the general consensus suggests the player is continuing to mature as a person.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger reportedly feels he has the capacity to tame Balotelli and help him fulfil his potential as a genuine world-class striker. The Frenchman is keen to sign another reliable goalscorer to ease the pressure on centre-forward Olivier Giroud, who could also be joined at the Emirates Stadium next season by compatriot Loic Remy, the 27-year-old striker on offer from newly-promoted Queens Park Rangers.