Chelsea

Chelsea Transfer News: Mario Balotelli Snub a Positive Development for Blues

MILAN, ITALY - JANUARY 06:  Mario Balotelli of AC Milan is seen prior to the Serie A match between AC Milan and Atalanta BC at San Siro Stadium on January 6, 2014 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images
Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistJanuary 8, 2014

Mario Balotelli's decision to snub Chelsea's reported advances should be welcomed by everyone at Stamford Bridge.

Despite being an excellent player on his day, the AC Milan forward has repeatedly proved that a long-term story of success is not possible at any one club.

As reported by Colin Harvey of The Daily Star, Balotelli recently confirmed he will remain at the San Siro after rumours suggested Jose Mourinho was interested in his services:

Mourinho was believed to be eyeing a move for his former Inter Milan college Balotelli, but the striker has distanced himself from a move back to England.

Balotelli said: "I am staying at Milan.

"I have to get ready for the World Cup and stay calm."

Balotelli is the kind of player who can make a difference in any match, but unfortunately, it is impossible to guess whether his influence will be positive or destructive.

The Italian forward has notched eight goals in a combined total of 19 appearances across Serie A and Champions League play this year, per WhoScored.com, but "his off the field antics have grown tiresome to the Rossoneri hierarchy," according to Harvey's report.

At the end of October 2013, Liam Prenderville of Mirror Football suggested Milan have hired an ex-police officer to watch over his every move after Balotelli was caught getting angry at a cameraman.

DERBY, ENGLAND - JANUARY 05:  Fernando Torres of Chelsea replaces Samuel Eto'o of Chelsea during the Budweiser FA Cup Third Round match between Derby County and Chelsea at iPro Stadium on January 5, 2014 in Derby, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty I
Michael Regan/Getty Images

The forward has managed this after just one year back in Italy. His ill-fated spell with Manchester City highlighted everything the player is famous for: occasional brilliance paired with consistent frustration.

Chelsea undoubtedly need a new striker—the combined Premier League total of goals between Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto'o and Demba Ba is just seven this campaign, per WhoScored, but supporters should be breathing a sigh of relief knowing Balotelli isn't interested in a switch.

That doesn't mean Mourinho can afford to see January out without improving his strikeforce, however, as analysed by Ewan Roberts of Goal.com:

In the Premier League era, the title-winning side's strikeforce has, on average, scored 43.2 goals and contributed to 54.6 per cent of the team's total goals.

Chelsea's strikers, though, are on course to score a modest 13.3 league goals this season, and have netted just 18.42% of the side's total goals. It is a weakness that has the potential to derail their title charge.

Mourinho's teams are often built around a powerful forward—think Didier Drogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Cristiano Ronaldo—but these players are willing to take responsibility on the pitch at all times.

MILAN, ITALY - MARCH 15:  Mario Balotelli receives instruction from Jose Mourinho of Inter during the Serie A match between Inter and Fiorentina at the Meazza Stadio on March 15, 2009 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by New Press/Getty Images)
New Press/Getty Images

Although he managed Balotelli while at Inter, there's no evidence to suggest the 23-year-old has grown up enough to lead Chelsea's title charge. The West London club need someone with energy, the willingness to battle and a mentality to beat petulance.

Rumoured targets such as Diego Costa and Wayne Rooney, as reported by James Dickenson of The Express, sometimes falter to the last point, but they are the type of player who can thrust Chelsea over a Premier League finishing line that is sure to be crowded come May.

This is not the time to take chances on someone of Balotelli's nature, as right now, Chelsea cannot afford to employ a player who has the power to overshadow Mourinho's ability of directing pressure off the squad and onto himself.

 

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