Arsenal must resist the temptation to bring AC Milan’s Mario Balotelli back to the Premier League due to the Italian’s reputation as a maverick.
There is no denying that the 23-year-old possesses talent in abundance, but for every ounce of quality displayed, his career up until this point has also been filled with stories of the ridiculous and bizarre.
He may yet use the upcoming World Cup in Brazil to demonstrate his abilities, to prove he is a man reformed and changed from his troubled days at Manchester City and Inter Milan, but the chances of moments of madness from him remain high.
Arsenal finally celebrated silverware for the first time in nine years last month after beating Hull City in the FA Cup final, and are in need of a forward capable of producing consistently and regularly on the biggest stage. Current strikers Olivier Giroud and Yaya Sanogo do not fit the bill. The former netted 22 times for the Gunners in all competitions last term, but does not possess the star quality and magic that made the likes of Robin van Persie and Thierry Henry so revered at the Emirates Stadium.
They have been linked with Real Madrid duo Karim Benzema and Alvaro Morata, but luring both will be difficult. Benzema is a popular figure at the Santiago Bernebeu, whilst Serie A champions Juventus are strong favourites to sign Morata.
That leaves Balotelli as the only realistic striking target, but the Italian’s attitude is such that parting big money for his services could prove to be a disaster.
There is no denying that he is a powerful player, a brute of a centre forward that, when on form, is one of the toughest attackers on the planet to play against. His performance during Italy’s 2-1 win over Germany in Euro 2012 was a perfect example of this. On that occasion he was uncontainable, scoring twice and delivering a performance of real quality that sent out the message to the rest of the world that he is a player to be taken seriously, and not the joke the media would have him be portrayed as.
But Arsenal are now facing their most important transfer window for many years. Now they have silverware to their name, Arsene Wenger has a substantial transfer kitty that must be used in the right way.
Balotelli is a genius, a maverick, but is too high a risk to take. He should focus on transforming Milan’s fortunes under new coach Fillipo Inzaghi and maturing as a player, and only then should Arsenal come knocking.
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