Mario Balotelli is set to be sold by fallen Italian giants AC Milan, after the club's disastrous campaign this season.
The Rossoneri were dumped out of Europe this week, soundly beaten by Spanish side Atletico Madrid 5-1, and it is the former Manchester City player who faces the axe as a result.
Neil McLeman of The Mirror reports that Balotelli has become the scapegoat for Milan's failures, and that new coach Clarence Seedorf now sees his own position under threat as his team sits mid-table in Serie A.
In McLeman's article the former Milan coach Arrigo Sacchi is quoted saying:
This is not a team. They do not defend collectively and this just highlights the limitations of every individual player. In attack they have many soloists, but the style of football has no logic to it.
This comment could be seen as an indirect attack on Balotelli, who leads the line.
Sky Sports recently reported that Jose Mourinho had hinted he might make a move for Balotelli at some stage in the future.
The report quoted the Chelsea manager saying to Yahoo:
In football you never know the future. 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.
Sky Sports also quoted Balotelli waxing lyrical about Mourinho earlier in the year:
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.
Despite Milan's readiness to lose Balotelli, the Italian's record this season is not a poor one.
He has managed to score 10 goals from the 19 league matches he has featured in, per Squawka, and also hit 12 goals in his 13 Serie A appearances last year, after joining the club from City.
Despite his apparent issues with body language and work rate, his record proves he knows how to put the ball in the back of the net.
Balotelli is an enigma and it is debatable whether a return to the Premier League would be the best thing for him. He is blessed with ability and physical strength, but with Chelsea's pragmatic approach in the striker's position it is difficult to say whether he could succeed at Stamford Bridge.
Simon Rice of The Independent was correct when he said: "Since leaving Manchester City for AC Milan, the Italian has found the back of the net on a more regular basis - but could Mourinho really handle a player with an ego even more inflated than his own?"
It is a pertinent question, and it is more than likely that Mourinho would not appreciate having to deal with a player who could cause him excessive grievance.
Despite his talent, Balotelli is the wrong player for Chelsea.
Fernando Torres has shown how difficult the role can be. His supporting cast is vast, yet he still struggles for goals. Balotelli needs to find a club where he can be the central figure alone. He needs a team where he is not expected to do the incredible tasks that Didier Drogba once did unselfishly for the Blues.
Balotelli will find a home, because he is good enough. However, it will not be in West London with his former manager.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!