The 23-year-old forward is currently representing Italy at the World Cup in Brazil and is reportedly the subject of a £25 million move to Arsenal, per Paul Hetherington of the Daily Star:
The former Manchester City star is keen to return to the Premier League – and London in particular. AC Milan hitman Balotelli was originally interested in a reunion with his former Inter boss Jose Mourinho at Chelsea. But Gunners chief Wenger is now in pole position. [...]
His agent Mino Raiola is now seeking a £150,000-a-week deal for Balo, 24.
Arsenal are in desperate need of a top striker after last season saw too much responsibility put on current front man Olivier Giroud.
Balotelli would provide the Frenchman with assistance and competition leading the the line at Arsenal and is a proven goalscorer—he bagged 14 goals in Serie A last season, per WhoScored.com.
Should Arsenal sign Balotelli?
AC Milan vice-president Barbara Berlusconi has certainly not ruled out the possibility of Balotelli leaving the club, seemingly suggesting that, at the right price, he could be on his way out, per Sky Sports:
"Balotelli is a great player and a real Italian talent, but nobody is irreplaceable. We’ll see what happens."
Balotelli is a controversial figure having caused trouble at many of his previous clubs, but he is a star and would be a top addition to Arsenal's squad. Wenger's huge experience should also be enough to keep the young Italian in check.
A striker who will seemingly not be making the move to the Emirates over the summer is Real Sociedad's Carlos Vela. In fact, Vela may directly fund part of Arsenal's move for Balotelli.
The former Gunner had been rumoured for a potential return to north London, but an £8.8 million deal between the two clubs has reportedly been made to remove Arsenal's stake in the player and cancel the buy-back clause, as reported by The Times (via Chris Richards of the Mirror):
The Gunners could even get a further £4 million depending on the number of appearances he makes for the La Liga club.
The deal, reports The Times, ends the North London side's threat to cash in on their £3.5 million buy back clause with a view to making a profit by selling the frontman, 25, to another club.
Vela claimed 16 goals and 12 assists in La Liga last season, per WhoScored.com, but he never really settled at Arsenal, which is perhaps the reason Wenger declined to bring him back, per ESPN FC's Tom Marshall:
Would love Vela to return and suceed at Arsenal, but past comments about never settling in London are worrying. Needs to feel comfortable.— Tom Marshall (@mexicoworldcup) June 11, 2014
Arsenal need to strengthen if they are to properly compete for the Premier League next season, and Balotelli seems like the right kind of player to galvanise the north London side.
It seems that Wenger is preparing to spend some money over the summer, which is absolutely necessary if he is to bring in the right calibre of reinforcements.
The Gunners look to have cashed in well on Vela and will be putting that money to good use if it helps lure star power like Balotelli as they prepare for a tilt at the title in 2014-15.