After one of their worst seasons for many a year, Milan could be willing to cash in on one of their star names to bring in much-needed revenue for reinforcements over the summer.
And Balotelli himself isn't averse to the idea.
According to Simon Mullock of the Sunday Mirror, Ballotelli said:
Of course I would like to play under Jose again. In my first days at Inter we had some problems, but then it turned into a mutual respect, and now we have a real friendship.
It is never boring playing under Jose. When you are in Mourinho’s team it is a family and he coaches on the principal that if all is well with the family it doesn’t matter what is going on outside the team.
Mourinho himself added fuel to the rumours.
In an interview with Yahoo (h/t Sky Sports), the Portuguese noted that:
Balotelli is with a big club at the moment but you never know the future.
They want to keep the best players and want to keep the best Italian players. But Mario has already been in English football before.
I'm not going to be manager of Milan or the Italy national team, but he's a good kid and somebody I'd like to work with again.
Should the mutual admiration society develop into anything further than the initial courting stage, is Mourinho biting off more than he can chew with Balotelli?
There's certainly no doubting his ability.
Despite a tempestuous relationship with Roberto Mancini whilst at Manchester City, Balotelli was often the difference.
And goals like this one against Bologna only enhance his reputation.
Scratch the surface, however, and there's little else that the Italian brings to the table.
According to Squawka.com, not so "Super" Mario has only completed a single defensive action in the entire season.
In fact, if we compare Balotelli with both Torres and Samuel Eto'o, there really isn't too much between them overall.
|Comparing Balotelli with Torres/Eto'o|
|Goals||Shooting Accuracy||Passing Accuracy||Duels Won|
|Balotelli||10||51 percent||72 percent||53 percent|
|Torres||4||58 percent||61 percent||47 percent|
|Eto'o||6||60 percent||75 percent||40 percent|
On that basis, you have to really question why Mourinho would countenance the purchase in the first place.
Perhaps it's the air of unpredictability that entices the "Special One." The ability to change a game with one moment of genius.
Roman Abramovich would surely need to be convinced before spending the Chelsea pound, given the Italian's propensity for trouble, which includes fighting with his own team-mates, per Dave Wood of the Daily Mail.
Milan will also take some persuading to sell their prize asset. They appear in no great hurry to do so and would expect that any potential suitors pay the going rate.
If it's Chelsea that firm up any interest, then there's always a likelihood it will add a few extra euros to the final purchase price.
With Financial Fair Play already foremost in Mourinho's mind, per Matt McGeehan of The Independent, it's fair to argue that a Balotelli purchase could restrict the manager's ability to strengthen in other areas, given that there's unlikely to be a "fire sale" at Stamford Bridge this summer.
The warning signs are there, but Mourinho could be about to ignore the red flags to make Balotelli a Blue.
Proceed with caution.