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Arsenal open Mario Balotelli transfer talks

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Arsenal appear to have finally identified the man to solve their striker crisis and will step up their efforts to sign Mario Balotelli from AC Milan after the World Cup, according to the Daily Mail.

The Italian offered the perfect demonstration of his ability by scoring the winner in Italy's World Cup opening win against England on Saturday, but things haven't always gone to plan for the 23-year-old since his return home in 2013 from Manchester City.

He managed 12 goals in 13 games upon his arrival at the San Siro but last season he fell off the pace slightly in 2013/14, managing 14 goals in 30 league appearances and failing to find the back of the net in Serie A between mid-April and the end of the season.

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Of course on top of his wavering form is his reputation as a handful; he picked up 10 yellow cards last season and was handed a three-match ban after he was sent off in Milan's 2-1 defeat against Napoli in September for using "intimidating and insulting" words towards referee Luca Banti.

Arsenal's striker problem

Arsenal are in desperate need of more firepower in attack after relying largely on Olivier Giroud to shoulder the burden for much of last season, and it seems as though Balotelli is their man.

The Daily Mail say that Arsenal have made initial contact with AC Milan over a potential deal in an attempt to find out how much he could be available for, with the Italian club seemingly keen on selling up.

Few doubt Balotelli's ability with the ball at his feet, but Arsenal fans may be concerned about introducing a player known for courting controversy into their squad. The stories about the Italian, particularly from his time with Manchester City, have become legend - although it is difficult to separate fact from fiction. 

Maturing

Arsene Wenger is known for his ability to get the best out of players so is unlikely to take a risk on a player who he sees as a lost cause - and the rewards on offer if he can tame the talented striker are obvious. 

It is likely that the Gunners will have to cough up a fee of around £20 million to get their man - however that would represent excellent value for a player that set Manchester City back £25 million four years ago and has the potential to be one of the best in Europe.

Undoubtedly he will mature as he gets older, and Arsenal could pull off a major coup by signing him this summer - the fact he has recently got engage may also hasten the growing-up process.  

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Topics:
Arsenal
Football
Mario Balotelli
Premier League
AC Milan

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