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Arsenal Transfer News: Balotelli Refuses to Rule Out Summer Move
AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli has refused to rule out a move away from the Italian club with Arsenal showing an interest in him. Arsene Wenger has reportedly made it a priority to sign a striker in the upcoming transfer window. Balotelli emerged as a surprise transfer target given that the 23-year-old’s spell at Manchester City had several ups and downs. Despite this, he remains as one of the talented strikers in the world.
Balotelli is with Italian team at the World Cup 2014, as he looks to get his country into the knockout stages. A key figure in Italy reaching the Euro 2012 final, it was not surprising to see Balotelli score against England in their first group match. Balotelli, though, is aware that they still need to get a win against Costa Rica in their next match to go closer to qualification for the knockout stages.
Hence, he has put the transfer rumours on hold by stating that he is only concentrating on the World Cup. Speaking to reporters ahead of the game, he said: “I’m concentrating on the national team and the World Cup. What comes later, we will see. I know nothing. I want to go as far as I can in the World Cup and score as many goals as possible”
Balotelli’s failure to rule out a transfer is seen as an encouraging sign for Wenger. After winning the FA Cup last season, Wenger will be keen to show that it was not a one-off and that the team are making progress on the pitch. Balotelli could prove to be the difference between Arsenal sustaining a title challenge throughout the campaign.
Last season, their bid to win the first Premier League title since 2004 withered away during the months of February and March. Mounting injuries coupled with tiredness causing Olivier Giroud, who was their main source of goals in the first half of the season, to go off the boil were seen as key reasons.
Milan’s financial problems are mounting and the club are preparing for a season without any form of European football. After having already sold a lot of stars like Thiago Silva in recent seasons, Milan would have been hoping to retain the likes of Balotelli. Failure to qualify for the Champions League or the Europa League for the upcoming campaign, though, has made it difficult to retain such a quality player.
There is positivity surrounding Milan after the appointment of Filippo Inzaghi, but it remains to be seen as to how long this will last. A self-confessed Milan fan, Balotelli is unlikely to demand a transfer. Despite Milan’s problems throughout last campaign, Balotelli ended up scoring 14 goals in a respectable 30 matches. He also came up with six assists and created 32 chances.
His records may be extremely good, but he largely remains a rough diamond. A number of top managers like Jose Mourinho and Roberto Mancini have failed to get the best out of him on a consistent basis. Wenger will be aware that Balotelli is a gamble, but he is a gamble worth taking.