Arsenal Transfer News: Mario Balotelli Contract Rumours Contradict Arsene Wenger

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistJuly 22, 2014

BERGAMO, ITALY - MAY 11:  Mario Balotelli of AC Milan shows his dejection during the Serie A match between Atalanta BC and AC Milan at Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia on May 11, 2014 in Bergamo, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Mario Balotelli is reportedly looking to land a £5 million-per-year deal to join Arsenal, made up of £100,000-per-week wages after tax, according to Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail, who states the club "would have to fork out in the region of £16 million to prise him away from the San Siro."

The report contradicts quotes given by Arsene Wenger, who recently confirmed he isn't looking to add further attacking options after the signing of Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona.

"Up front we don't need any more, maybe I will still bring in one centre-back," said Wenger, per Chisanga Malata of the Daily Star. "I will bring in a goalkeeper for sure and we are still out there to strengthen our squad."

Balotelli continues to be touted for an Arsenal move. Reports have intensified due to potential Gunners target Loic Remy's imminent Liverpool arrival, reported by Garry Doolan of the Daily Mail, but it seems Wenger's focus remains on tightening up his defence.

Milan chief Adriano Galliani doubted the move, saying, "We have not received any offer (for Balotelli) and at this time, there is nothing from Arsenal," per Sky Sports' Simone Bargellini. Oddly, this rumour continues to stir around the moment Corriere dello Sport suggested the Italian striker should be Milan's next captain, reported via Football Italia.

An in-form Balotelli would be a major hit at the Emirates. Unfortunately, the 23-year-old's temperamental nature sits alongside Luis Suarez as football's most documented, ensuring pettiness and a lack of concentration often floods his game.

He did provide 14 goals and six assists in 30 league appearances for Milan last season, but his frustrating side was highlighted in two lazy appearances following his winner against England at the World Cup, per WhoScored.com.

BOREHAMWOOD, ENGLAND - JULY 19:  Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger looks on during the pre season friendly match between Borehamwood and Arsenal at Meadow Park on July 19, 2014 in Borehamwood, England.  (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)
Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

A lethal finisher who could offer the Gunners increasing power up front, there's no doubt Balotelli would push Olivier Giroud all the way for a place in Wenger's first team. Even so, his often lethargic style may sap from Arsenal's busyness and energy, two factors that are set to increase with Sanchez in the side.

Balotelli's previous spell in England also underlines why it's questionable Arsenal would plump for the player. Manchester City continued to receive unwanted attention during his tenure, as trouble is never too far away when Balotelli is present.

The striker received petulant red cards, threw darts at youth teammates and even set off fireworks in his own bathroom during his spell in the Premier League, forcing potential suitors to consider whether his quality is worth the hassle.

Arsenal had a narrow escape when their bid for Suarez was rejected last season. Wenger's side would have been forced into a decision after the player received a four-month ban for biting Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup, noted by BBC Sport.

MILAN, ITALY - MAY 04:  Mario Balotelli of AC Milan in action during the Serie A match between AC Milan and FC Internazionale Milano at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on May 4, 2014 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Although Balotelli is yet to commit such a serious offence on the pitch, he possesses a similar penchant for ensuring he is a nuisance to both the opposition and his teammates. Former Italy head coach Cesare Prandelli recently suggested the player "lives in a dimension that is far away from reality," reported by Corriere della Sera and via Stefan Coerts of Goal.com.

Wenger is brave to not add another out-and-out goalscorer, as Giroud certainly needs extra support. Sanchez isn't a traditional striker and may play wide of the Frenchman, meaning another energetic targetman could be vital to Arsenal's chances of following last season's FA Cup triumph with further silverware.

Should Giroud lose form or become injured, the Emirates crowd won't even have the frustrating Nicklas Bendtner to fall back on. Even so, Wenger appears content with a squad who have a challenging year across all fronts ahead.