Arsenal are ready to offer Mario Balotelli a whopping £180,000 per week to leave AC Milan, according to reports. Arsene Wenger is also allegedly lining up a cut-price move for Mario Mandzukic, just in case he fails to land the Italian striker.
Metro details a significant development in the Balotelli rumour that continues to gather pace:
Arsenal are yet to formally make an approach, but reports in Italy say senior officials including negotiator Richard Law have drawn up a potential contract – worth £180,000-a-week.
The deal would see Arsenal share a portion of Balotelli’s lucrative sponsorship rights, which are worth millions in extra income.
Balotelli's bonus-filled deal at the San Siro currently earns him £150,000 per week. Milan suffered a disappointing seventh-placed finish in Serie A last season and are struggling to keep pace with the development of the domestic division's top half, let alone champions Juventus. Manager problems—the club recently hired Filippo Inzaghi as their third full-time boss in a year—could also see Balotelli leave.
Mino Raiola, the player's agent, has fuelled rumours by indicating Balotelli could be on the move. Amy Lewis of Sky Sports provided Raiola's quotes:
Arsenal is a fantastic club in London. Only 10 clubs in the world maximum could afford Mario - like all premium players and he is one of the greatest. I won't make any further comment until after the transfer window closes.
Wenger is said to be keeping his options open just in case this deal falls through. Mandzukic is set to be deemed unneeded at Bayern Munich when Robert Lewandowski heads to the club this summer, and he is sure to attract plenty of attention.
"Mandzukic, who has been told he can leave Bayern, is available on the cheap and Arsenal want to agree a deal for him – just in case a move for Balotelli collapses," reads an alternate Metro report.
Balotelli is certainly the more suitable striker out of the two. His mobility and willingness to open space would allow Arsenal's midfield extra opportunities to flaunt their passing range, while Mandzukic is more of a direct target through the centre. An in-form Balotelli will work down the wings, hold the ball up and enter the box with confidence.
The Gunners have also been linked with a move for Ezequiel Lavezzi, although Jonathan Johnson of ESPN FC believes the Premier League side may be priced out of a move for the Paris Saint-Germain forward, if the rumours prove to be true:
It seems as if Wenger is finally making progress toward landing the elusive world-class striker Arsenal desperately needed during the 2013-14 season. Giroud worked tirelessly, but his finishing limitations often let opponents off the hook. He needs top-quality competition and someone to help share a busy workload for a side who will compete across four fronts throughout next term.
Balotelli has unfinished business in the Premier League. With the right guidance from Wenger, he could become an integral part of a team that will hope to challenge for the domestic title with greater prominence during the season ahead.