Mario Balotelli joined Nice last summer in an attempt to get his career back on track following two hugely disappointing seasons with Liverpool and AC Milan - and he’s done exactly that.
The Italian striker has scored 17 goals in 28 appearances for the French club this season - the second-best goalscoring tally of his career for a single campaign - and has subsequently been linked with a summer move to various clubs across Europe.
Balotelli’s season in France hasn’t been entirely free of controversy but, by and large, he’s managed to keep himself on the straight and narrow at the Allianz Riviera.
Nice, however, only signed Balotelli to a one-year contract last summer, meaning he’s free to join another club ahead of the 2017-18 campaign.
The 26-year-old was linked with a move to Las Palmas last month, but Gran Canaria no longer appears to be a realistic option for the enigmatic forward.
Given his checkered history and bad-boy reputation, it’s entirely possible that we’ll never see Balotelli playing for one of Europe’s top clubs again, despite his talent.
Mino Raiola names the club Balotelli will sign for
But one European giant might be about to take a surprise gamble on old Mario, according to the player’s colourful agent, Mino Raiola.
The Italian-born Dutchman, who also represents Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, has told the German newspaper Bild that his client is about to sign for, wait for it, Borussia Dortmund.
"Yes, Mario Balotelli will play for Dortmund,” Raiola has been quoted as telling reporters today.
Is he telling the truth?
Is he telling the truth? Is he having us on?
Bild reckon Raiola is bluffing but only time will tell.
This would be a huge shock
Certainly, it would be a shock if Dortmund were to sign Balotelli, who has never played in the Bundesliga and doesn’t appear to be a natural fit for a club like BVB.
Although Dortmund have just replaced their head coach - bringing in Peter Bosz from Ajax after recent parting company with Thomas Tuchel - the German outfit aren’t expected to change their style of play under their newly-appointed manager.
This means the forwards will still be expected to press from the front - and as we saw during his ill-fated spell with Liverpool, it’s fair to say this isn’t something Balotelli particularly relishes doing.
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