Colin Harvey of The Daily Star brings us up to speed on Balotelli and the rumored interest from Chelsea:
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."
On the surface, this stance from Balotelli is admirable. He is expressing commitment to his club and the desire to be prepared for the World Cup. The problem comes when we dig a little deeper.
Would Balotelli be better off at Chelsea?
For starters, it does not appear that his time with AC Milan is helping him stay all that calm. As Harvey noted, "AC Milan are widely thought to be considering cashing-in on their most prized asset as his off the field antics have grown tiresome to the Rossoneri hierarchy."
For the record, Milan issued a statement, which comes to us via Sky Sports, denying any desire to move Balotelli: "AC Milan deny absolutely and with strength the declarations that would have been referred to the Milan president about an unthinkable collocation of Mario Balotelli on the market. Mario Balotelli is and remains a Milan player."
Balotelli has scored 18 goals in 24 Serie A games since joining Milan from Manchester City. His scoring pace has fallen off, however, after a scintillating start to his move:
Still, it's not like it has been smooth sailing. There was also a report by Liam Prenderville of Mirror Football, at the end of this past October, stating that Milan had hired an ex-police officer to monitor Balotelli on and off the pitch. That came after Balotelli had a small run-in with a cameraman.
I'm not suggesting that a move will help Balotelli calm down. I don't think location has much to do with his off-the-field behavior. It just makes his reasoning a little odd.
Let us not venture down the path of trying to understand Balotelli's logic. After all, this is the guy who set his house on fire after lighting off fireworks from his bathroom.
There are other ways, however, in which Balotelli would benefit from a move to Chelsea.
For starters, he would be playing much more meaningful soccer with Chelsea. AC Milan are in 11th place in Serie A play and are a full 27 points behind Juventus for the table lead.
Meanwhile, Chelsea are in third in the Premier League and are just two points behind table leaders Arsenal. The Blues' biggest need is for a goalscoring forward with the kind of talent Balotelli possesses, and his addition to the lineup could give them enough to push Chelsea over the top.
That would put a lot of pressure on Balotelli to produce, but if the Italian wants to be truly prepared for the World Cup, trying to lead a team to the Premier League title is a good place to start.
Also, with a move to Chelsea, Balotelli would be reunited with Jose Mourinho—the two worked together at Inter Milan. I have no idea if the Chosen One could inspire Balotelli to be his best, but it doesn't seem like he'd be shy about getting creative in ways to help Balotelli.
Only manager Balotelli fears... pic.twitter.com/a01lD0tPBH— Football Funnys (@FootballFunnys) January 7, 2014
Prenderville passed along this quote from Mourinho after the reported hiring of ex-police officer Filippo Ferri: "Mario is a great guy. I don't know what Ferri's specific tasks will be, but certainly with a lunatic like him, you never get bored."
Balotelli is at the stage of his career where he needs to prove he can conquer big challenges, and trying to lead the Blues to the Premier League title would qualify. That experience would not only benefit him for the 2014 World Cup, but for the rest of his career.