Football

Arsenal draw up £180,000-a-week offer for Mario Balotelli

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Balotelli is back in World Cup action on Friday night, but exit talk still rumbles on
Balotelli is back in World Cup action on Friday night, but exit talk still rumbles on.

Arsenal are so keen to wrap up a £27m move for AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli that Gunners transfer fixer Richard Law has tentatively put together a contract offer worth a whopping £180,000-a-week guaranteed, according to The Metro.

Balotelli would net a cool £9.36m net if Arsenal can persuade the forward his best interests lie in a Premier League return, with Arsene Wenger due to meet the forward's agent Mino Raiola in a break from World Cup punditry on Saturday.

Wenger believes the superstar can overcome question marks over his temperament to make his talent count in a Premier League return next season, but financial wrangling over terms is just one reason why Gunners fans could have quite a wait on their hands to see the strike star confirm a Serie A exit this summer.

Arsene Wenger to meet Mario Balotelli's agent this weekend

Mario Balotelli's agent admits star could make £27m move

Pressure on for Wenger

Arsenal fans are still waiting for Wenger to prove he's willing to spend a reported £100m transfer warchest this summer, particularly after being forced to watch former Gunners skipper Cesc Fabregas paraded in a Chelsea shirt last week after completing a £30m move to their bitter rivals last week.

Wenger is believed to have identified signing a central defender, goalkeeper, ball-winning midfielder and top centre-forward over Fabregas, but there is growing sense of cynicism creeping in that a £42.4m move for Mesut Ozil last year will continue to the exception rather than the rule in terms of buying a top-class player.

Balotelli would certainly fit the bill in terms of landing a physical striker that would provide direct, quality competition for Olivier Giroud, a star who was severely lacking in support at key times last season.

The 23-year-old scored 18 goals in Serie A last season despite Milan spending the large majority of the campaign toiling in relative mid-table obscurity.

Milan are hoping to begin a new era with club legend Filipo Inzaghi at the helm, but the Rossoneri will have to sell before they can chase new recruits and Balotelli is easily the star in their ranks who could fetch the biggest fee.

Arsenal are also hoping finances play a part in Balotelli choosing a move to London, with the star currently on £150,000-a-week at Milan in a deal dependent on a string of performance-related bonuses and endorsement deals.

The Gunners are willing to remove those incentive-based clauses and offer a straight cash pay rise of £30,000-a-week, but also want a slice of his lucrative sponsorship rights, which include a deal with Arsenal's kit provider Puma, as part of the agreement.

Alternatives in attack?

Wenger has not restricted his striker search to a case of Balotelli or bust, which means Bayern Munich outcast Mario Mandzukic or Real Madrid marksman Karim Benzema represent viable, attainable options if the Italian maverick does end up staying put.

Mandzukic has been deemed surplus to requirements by Bayern boss Pep Guardiola despite scoring 26 goals in all competitions last season, while Benzema is a long-term Wenger target despite leading the line for Real Madrid with such success in recent times.

Wenger is on a scouting/punditry mission at the World Cup over the next few weeks, which gives him plenty of chance to not only watch transfer targets up close and personal but get deals done.

Topics:
Arsenal
Football
Premier League
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