Arsenal on alert as Balotelli hits back at pundit

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Arsenal could be ready to offer Mario Balotelli an escape from Italy after the AC Milan forward exchanged angry words with Sky Sports Italia pundit Giancarlo Marocchi, reports the Sunday Express.

Arsene Wenger's team are in need of striking reinforcements with Olivier Giroud having only youngster Yaya Sanogo and the much-maligned Nicklas Bendtner as competition this season.

Balotelli's outburst came after Marocchi suggested his lack of movement off the ball had prevented him from becoming a world class player following AC Milan's 2-0 defeat to Roma on Friday night.

The former Manchester City and Inter Milan hit back, saying: "You don't understand anything about football. Trust me, you really don't.

"I never said I'm a top player. I am a perfectly normal player, it will take time to become world class, but the reasons why I am not a top player are not the same reasons you think."

"Every game is different. If I didn't get near the goal once tonight, then there has to be a reason.

"You always talk about me. When Milan win Mario's great, when Milan lose it's all Mario's fault. You expect me to score five goals a game. I don't need your criticism, I make my own criticism."

Not content with his reaction to Marocchi's criticism, Balotelli later took to Twitter to say: "Mamma mia, I divide Italy in two! Amazing! While almost everyone overseas is united with me! What a strange game."

The 23-year-old has had a relatively good season on a personal level, having netted 14 Serie A goals in 27 game despite the San Siro outfit sitting in 7th place - 18 points adrift of a Champions League qualifying spot.

However, Marocchi seemingly wasn't the only person to be less than impressed with Balotelli's performance on Friday as manager Clarence Seedorf substituted him after 70 minutes.

To make matters worse for Super Mario, his replacement, Giampaolo Pazzini, has only netted twice all season.

With AC Milan reportedly growing frustrated with Balotelli, Arsenal could be ready to end his 18-month spell in Italy and the volatile striker may fancy a move back to the Premier League.

However, the Gunners could face competition from North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, who are also rumoured to be keen on the forward.

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Mario Balotelli
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