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Chelsea Transfer Rumours: Mario Balotelli Move Would Ruin Blues' New Model

SASSUOLO, ITALY - JANUARY 12:  Mario Balotelli of AC Milan reacts during the Serie A match between US Sassuolo Calcio and AC Milan on January 12, 2014 in Sassuolo, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images
Nick AkermanFeatured Columnist IVOctober 3, 2016

Chelsea's stunning performance during the recent 1-0 win over Manchester City highlighted a Blues side that is developing a battle-ready sense of character.

Jose Mourinho confirmed the team are in "evolution" during his post-match interview, as reported by Jamie Jackson of The Guardian, but this growth will be stunted if Mario Balotelli is brought to Stamford Bridge.

The AC Milan forward has been linked with a move back to England, noted by Simon Rice of The Independent, in a rumour that should send Mourinho scampering for the hills.

While the Portuguese manager deployed a tactical masterclass against City, the effectiveness of his game plan was only as good as the players carrying it out. Chelsea's entire team was full of energy, a willingness to compete and dominate the one-on-one encounters that would decide such an important fixture.

We saw this with Nemanja Matic, who reduced the usually imposing figure of Yaya Toure to an uncomfortable oaf in the middle of the park. While Yaya started strongly by fending off multiple opponents with brute strength, he was redundant in the second half.

Eden Hazard's confident approach saw him act as the counterattacking conduit for Mourinho's men. He suckered players in, skipped past them and sped toward the opposition's box with regularity.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 03: Martin Demichelis of Manchester City (L) looks on as Eden Hazard of Chelsea shrugs off a challenge from Aleksandar Kolarov of Manchester City during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Chelsea a
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

As recorded by WhoScored.com, the Belgian completed 11 dribbles and was fouled four times. He provided respite, but most importantly, stopped City from entering their attacking rhythm.

Willian also worked excellently on the other side, while the energy of Chelsea's full-backs halted any chance of Pablo Zabaleta and Aleksandar Kolarov sustaining advanced positions.

Although Samuel Eto'o also put in a decent shift, the presence of a consistently hard-working, determined forward wasn't noticeable. Perhaps more so because Chelsea worked so well across the rest of the pitch.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 03:  Vincent Kompany of Manchester City tackles Nemanja Matic of Chelsea  during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Chelsea at Etihad Stadium on February 3, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Mario Balotelli is not the man to remedy this problem.

The 23-year-old was famed for his lazy approach while at Manchester City. This has only continued at the San Siro, where he continues to prioritise himself over the struggling Serie A side's need for hard work.

Balotelli averages 0.4 tackles and 0.3 interceptions per match, via WhoScored. He completes just 70 percent of his passes, while also making 2.1 fouls every game.

Mourinho doesn't need a player who will unnecessarily provide the opposition with free-kicks. He needs someone who can pressure rivals into making mistakes or punting out of play.

Balotelli doesn't regularly make the effort to chase down. When he does, it's often met with a flash of the yellow card (10 yellow, one red in 22 games this season).

MILAN, ITALY - JANUARY 22:  Mario Balotelli of AC Milan #45 and Danilo of Udinese Calcio compete for the ball during the TIM Cup match between AC Milan and Udinese Calcio at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on January 22, 2014 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Vi
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Even when he does gain possession, the Italian's retention stats suggest he is likely to make a mistake. Balotelli has completed 2.4 dribbles per match, while also being dispossessed 2.3 times every appearance. That's not forgetting the 2.1 turnovers that also dampen each performance.

Balotelli is an unstoppable goalscoring force when in the right frame of mind, but his overall output would only frustrate Mourinho's cause.

The Chelsea boss laminated his blueprint for the club's future during the Feb. 3 tie at the Etihad. It's a concoction that is built on endless running, pace, power and the determination to ensure the opposition never settle. For the first time, many will have understood why Juan Mata was allowed to leave for Manchester United.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 03: Jose Mourinho manager of Chelsea looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Chelsea at Etihad Stadium on February 3, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Mourinho's unwanted Spaniard simply didn't fit, despite his easygoing attitude and eagerness to play. Balotelli doesn't possess either of these traits and would naturally frustrate Chelsea fans, who have become used to seeing the team notch up clean sheets:

The manager's new model is built for Wayne Rooney, Diego Costa or Edinson Cavani—forwards who understand their roles extend beyond simply sticking the ball away. As with Chelsea's midfielders and full-backs, the striker's responsibilities are multi-faceted.

None of Eto'o, Fernando Torres or Demba Ba are built to fulfill this role in the long term. Neither is Balotelli, who would devolve Mourinho's purposeful team into a "little horse" with three legs. 

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