Arsenal’s brand new kit sponsors will reportedly help the club fund a big money deal to sign Mario Balotelli at the end of the season.
But amid talk that his giant price has put Arsene Wenger off making a bid, Puma are believed to have stepped in to offer an alternative.
There is no doubt Balotelli could add something special to the Arsenal team but his reputation for being a “bad-boy” wouldn’t fit into the Arsenal ethos.
Wenger wants players that fit the professional mould of the club, some would call them “yes men,” whereas Balotelli is a nomad in that respect.
Balotelli scored 12 goals in 12 Serie A appearances for Milan last season, and has already bagged nine league goals this season, per ESPN.
But his public displays of outrage, both on and off the pitch make him a difficult proposition for Wenger and his team. In March 2012, he was involved in a training ground bust-up with then-City manager Roberto Mancini, reported the Daily Mail.
Whilst in May 2013, the Daily Mail’s Nick Pisa reported that the Italian took his £200,000 Ferrari for a spin on a go-kart track.
Wenger is known to prefer his players to keep their public lives out of the spotlight, if the recent case of Jack Wilshere smoking a cigarette in public is anything to go by. Wenger, reported Sami Mokbel in the Daily Mail, said of the incident:
You can damage your health at home. You can drink at home but nobody sees it, but when you do it in public, you damage your reputation as well.
There is no doubt that Arsenal have needed a striker to support Frenchman Olivier Giroud. The striker has had to hold the burden of Arsenal’s lack of attacking options by himself.
Since the departure of Robin Van Persie, Giroud, and German Podolski have done a great job filling the void but injuries have meant Arsenal have been light upfront.
The French striker has managed 10 goals in 22 league games this season, per ESPN. Injuries at different points of the season to Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski and Nicklas Bentdner have meant the goals have dried-up compared to previous seasons.
Bendtner has at least made a comeback but sees his role restricted to the bench, with Wenger keen to rely on Giroud then the Dane.
Walcott picked up an injury in Arsenal’s 2-0 win over rivals Tottenham in the FA Cup and will not feature again this season. Podolski, on the other hand, has made a comeback but again Wenger has decided to keep his contribution to a minimum.
Premier League top goalscorers Manchester City have also got a wealth of attacking options—Sergio Aguero has scored 15 league goals, whilst Alvaro Negredo has chipped in with nine goals, and Edin Dzeko has seven goals, per ESPN.
Wenger has made no secret of his desire to sign a striker—reported by Jeremy Wilson in the Telegraph—but their recent failure to sign Julian Draxler means Arsenal will have plenty of options in the summer.
But whether Balotelli is the right one will mean risky business for the Gunners. With a host of other strikers on the continent available, Wenger might want to look elsewhere. The Gunners would do better to renew their interest in Luis Suarez or Atletico Madrid hitman Diego Costa then on Balotelli.