Arsenal Transfer News : Mario Balotelli Not Right Fit for Gunners

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistJune 25, 2014

NATAL, BRAZIL - JUNE 24:  Mario Balotelli of Italy reacts during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group D match between Italy and Uruguay at Estadio das Dunas on June 24, 2014 in Natal, Brazil.  (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Arsenal's pursuit of AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli is reportedly progressing at pace, with the Gunners wanting to snap him up in the next two weeks or so, per the Metro

The North London outfit certainly need a new top-class striker, as their over-reliance upon current front man Olivier Giroud ultimately saw them finish fourth in the Premier League last season.

A lack of depth up front was key in seeing them fall quite dramatically from early pace-setters in the English top flight, and a new scoring outlet is one of several big signings they need in order to properly compete again at top level.

However, manager Arsene Wenger would do well to have a rethink concerning the 23-year-old Italian, as he does not look like the answer to Arsenal's problems—he may simply cause more.

The Metro report indicates Arsenal are prepared to pay £27 million for the mercurial Balotelli, but that could prove a waste of money if Wenger cannot control the player.

There is a reason he has left his previous clubs—Inter Milan and Manchester City—under a cloud of ignominy; he is volatile and unpredictable both on and off the field.

MILAN, ITALY - JANUARY 19:  Mario Balotelli of AC Milan during warm up prior to the Serie A match between AC Milan and Hellas Verona FC at San Siro Stadium on January 19, 2014 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Last season saw him the top scorer for Milan in Serie A with 14 goals in 30 matches as well as providing six assists, per

Those are undeniably good statistics, but they are deceiving in that they cover up some woeful performances, including against Roma in April in the wake of which he lashed out on Italian television, per BBC Sport

Recently, AC Milan vice president Barbara Berlusconi has made her thoughts known on Balotelli, per Oliver Todd in the Daily Mail:

"Balotelli is a great player," she said. "But the way I see it, I don’t believe that someone can be irreplaceable. We will see what happens."

This is not normally the way a club's hierarchy talks about a star player; just look at Liverpool's constant support of Luis Suarez despite all of his past misdemeanours—their reaction to his latest transgression remains to be seen.

While Suarez is at the centre of everything Liverpool do, the same cannot be said for Balotelli. The Uruguayan almost took Liverpool all the way to the Premier League title in 2013-14, Balotelli's Milan finished eighth in Serie A.

Quite simply, Balotelli is not good enough or consistent enough to make up for his erratic behaviour on and off the pitch, and Wenger and Arsenal cannot afford to gamble on signing him.

His performance as Italy were knocked out of the World Cup by Uruguay on Wednesday was indicative of his changeable nature.

In the Azzurri's opener, the youngster was the difference as England were downed 2-1. Just over a week later, Balotelli was nowhere against La Celeste and was substituted at halftime, his performance damningly summarised by the Daily Mail's Ian Ladyman:

Balotelli is a striker of great quality but woeful temperament. That could prove a huge issue for Arsenal should they decide to bring him in. 

They need a reliable man to lead their attack, not a player who is prone to losses in form and infantile tantrums.

Wenger is a manager of huge experience and could potentially control the Italian. But, in fact, the Frenchman's experience should actually lead him to move away from signing Balotelli. 

The Gunners need a long-term fix up front, a player who can score goals consistently and fit into their style of play and team dynamic. Balotelli is not that player.