Chelsea's efforts to solve the current striker crisis at Stamford Bridge are an ongoing issue for the club, which face a difficult January transfer window in 2014.
The Blues haven't been able to rely on the talents of their existing crop of forwards this season, with Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto'o and Demba Ba falling some way short of the mark under Jose Mourinho.
This had led to speculation that the West Londoners were aiming to reunite Mourinho with former Inter charge and fellow Champions League winner Mario Balotelli.
Over the weekend Balotelli's agent, Mino Raiola, was quoted by Omar Al Raisi in United Arab Emirates newspaper The National as saying his client was ready for another change of scenery after having a falling out with the Milan hierarchy.
Raiola's comment reads:
Mario wishes to leave Milan in January. We don’t know where he will go at the moment, we are looking at the different possibilities. Chelsea is one of the options, but there has been no offers and I cannot comment [on whether] we have been contacted.
However, the Daily Telegraph's Matt Law more recently claimed he spoke with Raiola personally, and the agent firmly denied making the comments:
And Chelsea should be glad, too. For although Balotelli is an outrageously talented player when all factors are going in his favour, his contributions don't match up with what Mourinho's squad needs this January.
The Italian has scored just six goals in 12 games this season, per Transfermarkt.co.uk, and has failed to lift the Rossoneri out of their slump this season.
During his time at Manchester City, Balotelli showed a propensity for immaturity, and although some would say his personal image has improved since moving back to his native country in January, Chelsea are aware of the risk they'd be taking on with the striker's signature.
What's more, Balotelli isn't as learned in leading a line himself, especially a team boasting as many egos as Chelsea.
At City and in Milan, the 23-year-old has shown some signs of leadership and the ability to sparkle independently, granted, but other figures have, for the most part, been on hand to lend some support.
At Stamford Bridge, the player wouldn't have such luxuries and would be expected to dazzle as the headline feature in his side's forward movement.
When there are plenty of options who would cost a similar amount and perhaps bring more suitable experience to the club, Balotelli pales in comparison to other alternatives.
In a few years' time, Balotelli may grow to become one of the world's most assured presences as a lone striker, but Chelsea are in need of a safer bet at this particular juncture, not one holding as much chance of risk as reward.
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