Arsenal Transfer News: Arsene Wenger Wise to Reject Move for Mario Balotelli

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 27, 2014

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 16:  Mario Balotelli of Italy during a training session on June 16, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Mario Balotelli is a headache Arsenal don't need right now.

Arsene Wenger appears to be in agreement.

"We cannot believe absolutely everything that is on the internet or in the papers," he said while serving as a pundit for beIN Sport's World Cup coverage, per The Guardian. "Sometimes it is created by agents or by press who need news. But in this case, it’s not true."

Balotelli is an undeniably gifted footballer. If this were a game of FIFA or Football Manager, Arsenal should by all means pursue the Italian star. However, when you take on Balotelli, you take on all of Balotelli's baggage.

That isn't worth it for the Gunners. For one, he's not consistent enough to make all of the trouble tolerable. The other problem is that Balotelli would almost certainly throw off the dressing-room balance and togetherness that Wenger has cultivated for the last few seasons.

It was thought that once the 23-year-old arrived at AC Milan, he would find the personal satisfaction and stability he'd lacked at Inter Milan and Manchester City.

After all, Balotelli's an admitted Rossoneri supporter. This was presumably the move he's wanted all along.

RECIFE, BRAZIL - JUNE 20:  Mario Balotelli of Italy reacts to a missed change during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group D match between Italy and Costa Rica at Arena Pernambuco on June 20, 2014 in Recife, Brazil.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Upon arriving in January 2013, the honeymoon period was almost over before it started, and he may be on the way out after a year-and-a-half.

Milan's chief executive Adriano Galliani told the club's official website that, "Balotelli will remain at Milan," per Sky Sports' Nadia Carminati.

Balotelli's agent, Mino Raiola, was less than enthusiastic when speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport, via The Guardian, about how the relationship between Balotelli and Milan has soured:

Mario is sad, desperate. Only Galliani has defended him while the FIGC [Italian football federation] remains absolutely silent. I appreciate Galliani’s comments but now I want to respond to Barbara Berlusconi. If, for her, Mario is replaceable, she should set up a meeting in the club’s headquarters and we will find a solution, just as I am used to doing. I remember that Mario had other important offers. He is at Milan because of his heart.

Earlier in the month, Simon Jones of the Daily Mail reported that Arsenal were offered Balotelli for a fee of around £30 million. It would appear that that rumour will come to nothing, and that's good news for Gooners.

Tactically, he's not vastly different from Olivier Giroud. The Frenchman often gets a lot of unfair criticism. He's more than good enough to play as a No. 9 for the Gunners. His numbers were actually slightly better than Balotelli's last year, per Sky Sports Football:

Alessandra Tarantino/Associated Press

What Arsenal needs to do is sign more of a secondary striker who can play off Giroud and make runs into attacking areas. Balotelli's not exactly that type of striker, and there's no need to fix what's not broken—Giroud.

The Arsenal forward will also be better off when he's not expected to play every single match. Giroud needs help, not a replacement.

Presumably Arsenal aren't going to suddenly throw a £100 million into the transfer market. More than likely, Wenger will operate as he did last year when he threw £40 million at Mesut Ozil and little else.

If the Gunners are in fact more shrewd with their spending, Balotelli falls way down on the club's priority list. A right-back, defensive midfielder and secondary striker are all more important at this stage.

In general, you can see Balotelli growing into a Zlatan Ibrahimovic-type player. He stays at a club for a few seasons and then his current team either grows tired of his antics or simply decides to sell up and make a profit.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 17:  Olivier Giroud of Arsenal celebrates victory after the FA Cup with Budweiser Final match between Arsenal and Hull City at Wembley Stadium on May 17, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Nobody will call Ibra the best teammate, but he's a serial winner who's guaranteed to give you 20-plus goals a season. Whatever his eccentricities, they're tolerable for a short time because the on-pitch payoff is well worth it.

The problem for Balotelli right now is that he's nowhere near Ibrahimovic's level. He brings all of the headaches without the same kind of production.

From Arsenal's perspective, it's better to let him be somebody else's problem.